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Old Mutual wraps up four-way break-up with Johannesburg listing


JOHANNESBURG    –    Old Mutual Plc will list its African financial services unit in Johannesburg on Tuesday, returning to its roots as a South African-based financial services group and largely wrapping up a radical break-up of the group.

The 173-year old company has been disentangling its conglomerate structure following a series of acquisitions since 1999 when it moved its headquarters and primary listing to London.

Chief Executive Bruce Hemphill set the carve-up in motion in 2016, saying the company’s four main businesses — a U.S. asset manager, a British wealth manager, an African financial services unit and a South African bank — would achieve higher investor ratings as separate entities.

Old Mutual Plc’s African financial services unit, Old Mutual Ltd, listed roughly 5 billion shares, which rose to 29 rand each as of 0738 GMT.

Old Mutual will also have a standard listing in London, and secondary listings on the stock exchanges of Malawi, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.

“When I joined Old Mutual plc as chairman in January 2010, I promised that I would leave the businesses stronger and with attractive prospects in their respective markets. All four companies now meet these objectives as separate, independent firms,” Chairman Patrick O’Sullivan said in a statement.

Old Mutual, which traces its roots back to the mid-19th as South Africa’s first mutual aid society with 166 members, has already sold its U.S. asset management business and on Monday separately listed its U.K wealth arm, renamed Quilter.

Later this year Old Mutual’s African unit will spin off part of its 53 percent interest in South Africa’s fourth largest lender, Nedbank.

Old Mutual, which will retain a roughly 20 percent stake in Nedbank, bought into the lender in 1986 when it was forced by apartheid South Africa’s strict capital controls into being a major shareholder in several local companies.

The 145 billion rand ($10.68 billion) company’s head office in London will be wound down this year.(Reuters)

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