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The Sanlam Group has announced a satisfactory operational performance for the four months ended 30 April 2015 despite increasingly challenging operating conditions in a number of the countries where it operates.

Various factors impacted the Group’s performance, including, among others, modest economic and employment growth in South Africa; low commodity prices that limit economic activity in some of its other African markets; and delays in the roll-out of infrastructure spending in India that have affected the Group’s credit businesses in this market.

Sanlam Group Chief Executive, Dr Johan van Zyl, commented: “We are satisfied with our performance in the first four months of the year and we are confident that going forward, we will continue to deliver on our longer term growth targets.”

Sanlam Personal Finance recorded a 20% overall increase in new business sales. Sanlam Sky’s new business volumes increased by 13%. Glacier continued its strong growth trajectory to achieve a 28% increase in new business while the middle income market segment’s overall new business volumes were marginally down on the comparable period.

Sanlam Emerging Markets achieved overall new business growth of 2%, impacted by lower unit trust sales in Namibia, a slow start in the Malaysian general insurance business as well as some system implementation issues experienced in the Rest of Africa region. Botswana and India experienced satisfactory growth in new business flows during the period while the newly acquired MCIS Insurance in Malaysia is performing well and meeting its targets.

Sanlam Investments grew its new business volumes by 15%, which includes 31% growth from Sanlam Employee Benefits.

Net result from financial services increased by 8% on a high 2014 base. Relatively stronger investment market returns in the first four months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014, supported the growth in headline earnings.

The Group’s available discretionary capital amounted to some R2 billion at the end of April 2015. This remains earmarked for growth opportunities. At the end of December 2014, the Group had excess capital of R3,3 billion, some R2 billion of which was utilised for or committed to a number of specific transactions. The balance of the discretionary capital was augmented by a special dividend paid by MCIS Insurance, the disposal of some illiquid investments, the excess dividend cover relating to the 2014 financial year and investment return earned on the discretionary capital portfolio.

For the remainder of the year, Dr Van Zyl said the company expects the economic and operating environment to remain challenging, with a resulting impact on the Group’s key operational performance indicators.

“Our people and our solid strategy have supported and sustained our performance for more than 10 years and we will continue to focus on our strategy to deliver value for our shareholders and other stakeholders,” Dr Van Zyl concluded.

Sanlam Life Insurance is a licensed financial service provider.
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