“I think the environment is fairly tough. The consumer is under pressure, companies operating in that space, particularly the retail industry, are really struggling so we feel very good about the results being up,” Johan Van Zyl, Chief Executive Officer of Sanlam told CNBC Africa on Thursday.
The company posted a 43 per cent hike in diluted headline earnings per share from 120.1 cents in 2012 to 171.4 cents this year. Normalised headline earnings per share were up 35 per cent to 169.1 cents and headline earnings were 43 per cent higher at 3.47 billion rand.
The overall net result from financial services grew by 23 per cent on a per share basis, with net fund inflows of 13 billion rand.
Sanlam’s[DATA SLM:Sanlam Limited.] growth is mainly attributed to its new business flows s in countries such as India and Malaysia which are up 37 per cent to 83 billion rand.
In India, Sanlam concluded a 2.1 billion rand investment in Shriram Capital as well as a direct investment of 1.1 billion rand in Shriram Transport Finance.
In addition, the group purchased a 49 per cent stake in Pacific and Orient Insurance Company Berhard in Malaysia.
Further expansion plans are also being made for Africa, particularly in the English speaking countries.
“We are in most English speaking countries as we understand their regulatory system, which is the old British one. The growth so far has been phenomenal. We’ve been tremendously surprised on how good it’s going,” said Van Zyl.
“Africa is becoming a favourite destination for investors. Many would say we are now where the Asian and Latin American countries were 10 to 15 years ago.”
On the other hand, the group did take a knock after their 200 million rand investment in the failed building supply company, First Strut, had to be written off once the company had filed for liquidation.
According to reports, First Strut, went insolvent after their chairman, Jeff Wiggill, was found shot dead in Soweto on the 20 June 2013.
“We had a substantial amount of money in there and we have written it off. We’re now waiting for the legal processes to run which may take a year or 2. We may have taken a knock in the past 6 months for it but our numbers are still up so things are going well,” explained Van Zyl.
He added that while there is a chance of recoupment for the loss, it would be more convenient for the group to write off the damages and rather focus on increasing profits over the next two years.