Sanlam becomes Africa’s largest insurer with $1.1 bn acquisition of Saham Finances

South Africa’s biggest life insurance company, Sanlam has acquired Moroccan insurance firm Saham Finances in a deal worth deal worth $1.1 billion following regulatory approvals.

The deal is for the remaining 53.37 percent stake in Saham that Sanlam did not already own. In a joint venture with Sanlam Emerging Markets Ireland Ltd (SEMIL), a unit of Sanlam, the financial services group acquired a 30 percent stake in Saham Finances in 2016. By 2017, the group increased their stake to 46.6 percent.

“With expertise across life, general and specialist insurance and investment management in Africa, we now have significant opportunities for cross-selling and diversification. Saham has operations across North, West and East Africa, as well as in the Middle East,” Sanlam emerging markets chief executive, Junior Ngulube stated.

Established in 1918 as a life insurance company, Sanlam Group has developed over time into a diversified financial services business through its business clusters; Sanlam Personal Finance, Sanlam Emerging Markets, Sanlam Investments, Sanlam Corporate and Santam.

Saham Finances is Sanlam’s biggest acquisition yet as the South African insurer expands its presence in Africa. According to Ngulube, the deal gives Sanlam access to 26 more countries on the continent, in addition to the seven countries in which it already operates.

Sanlam’s emerging markets where it has retail/group life insurance and other related business includes, Botswana Insurance Holdings, Limited, Namibia’s Sanlam Life and Sanlam Namibia, Malawi’s NICO, Kenya’s Pan Africa Insurance Holdings (PAIH), Ghana’s Enterprise Life, Nigeria’s FBN Insurance, India’s Shriram Capital, Malaysia’s MCIS Insurance, Rwanda’s Soras Group among others.

Since Saham Finances was established in Morocco in 1995 as the insurance division of Saham Group, the company has puts its expertise at the service of insurance, assistance and Third Party Administrator (TPA).

In 2017 financial year end, Saham Finances consolidated net assets worth $850 million and earnings of $77.4 million for the year.