Sanlam has completed the takeover of Morocco’s Saham Finances, firmly establishing itself across francophone Africa with a presence in 33 countries across the continent.
The group acquired 53.37% of Saham Finance’s equity effective from 9 October as regulators in various jurisdictions across Africa approved the deal.
Sanlam and closely-associated general insurer Santam now hold an effective interest in Saham Finances of 90% and 10% respectively.
The two companies began their partnership in 2016, when Sanlam Emerging Markets acquired a 30% stake in Saham Finances. Sanlam increased its stake to 46.6% in 2017.
Nadia Fettah will remain chief executive of Saham Finances and together with deputy chief executive Emmanuel Brule, will join the Sanlam Emerging Markets executive committee.
Little market overlap
The business has 65 subsidiaries, a network of 700 branches, more than 3,000 employees and $1.2bn (£909m, €1bn) in annual turnover. Saham Finances and Sanlam have until now overlapped in just four countries: Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda.
Sanlam said the acquisition creates a pan-African financial services group able to offer a full product suite to individuals and corporates, while expanding its multinational client base and strengthening its position in specialist insurance and employee benefits. It also wants to be seen as the preferred partner for insurers without a presence in Africa.
Creating a ‘to go’ partner
Ian Kirk, group chief executive of Sanlam, said: “The conclusion of this transaction is an important milestone in achieving our vision of becoming a leading financial services group on the continent. The confluence of the combined footprint and respective expertise of Sanlam, Santam and Saham Finances provides the Sanlam Group with an opportunity to grow its life insurance businesses in Francophone markets as well as leveraging the group’s expertise to grow the general insurance portfolio. We are uniquely positioned to be the ‘go to’ financial services partner for multinationals doing business on the continent.”
Fattah said: “The businesses are complementary. Saham Finances developed into a leading insurance group in Africa outside of South Africa, with leading businesses in most of the 26 countries in which it operates.”
Since its establishment in Morocco in 1995 as a subsidiary of Saham Group – which also owns health, food and distribution interests – Saham Finances has expanded rapidly. At the end of 2017 it had consolidated net assets worth $850m and earnings of $77.4m for the year.