Sanlam H1 earnings down 19 % hurt by South Africa recession

JOHANNESBURG    – South African life insurer Sanlam reported a 19 percent drop in half-year profit on Thursday, hurt by a recession in its home market.

Sanlam reported diluted headline earnings per share of 225.3 cents for the six months to June 30 compared with 277.2 cents a year earlier.

Africa’s most advanced economy slipped into a technical recession this year, but data published on Tuesday showed an uptick in growth.

“The operating environment during the first half of 2017 proved even more demanding than anticipated, in particular in South Africa, our largest market,” Sanlam said in a statement.

Sanlam, which also has operations in Nigeria, Angola and India, said new business volumes declined by 4 percent to 110 billion rand ($8.6 billion) over the period.

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The life insurer said South African growth prospects will remain muted for the rest of 2017 and 2018, but added that commodity-based economies in the rest of Africa were benefiting from better terms of trade and a firmer global growth outlook.

Headline earnings per share is the main profit measure in South Africa and strips out certain one-off items.

($1 = 12.8061 rand)(Reuters)

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