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Sale of its Indian stake in line with Old Mutual strategy

Companies
Durban - Financial services group Old Mutual is forging ahead with its strategy to sell off businesses that it considers non-core assets with an announcement on Friday that it was planning to sell its 26 percent stake in an Indian insurance joint venture for £156 million (R2.69 billion).

This comes in the wake of Old Mutual's recent announcement that it would sell three stakes in the business as part of its planned break-up into four.

Richard Hasson, fund manager at Elect us Fund Managers, pointed to the group’s recent decision to relocate its businesses back home.

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Workers clean windows outside the Cape Town headquarters of Anglo-South African financial services company Old Mutual.

Hasson said the move would see Old Mutual Emerging Markets (Omem) concentrating its assets mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.

“In my opinion selling sub-scale businesses outside of their sub-Saharan focus area makes sense, as these are generally small assets relative to the size of Omem, but which require a large amount of management time due to differing regulatory requirements across different geographies and different business models,” he said.

Old Mutual said last month it was on track to complete its break-up by the end of 2018, although improvements to IT systems at asset manager Old Mutual Wealth could take longer and cost more than expected.

There are rumours that the group is also planning to sell 50 percent of its stake in the Guodian Corporation, one of China’s biggest power producers. But Old Mutual has steadfastly refused to comment on the claims.

However, it is well known that the group is also planning to list or sell Old Mutual Wealth, cut its stake in South Africa’s Nedbank and has already begun cutting its stake in the US firm Old Mutual Asset Management (Omam).

Read also: Old Mutual sells out of India

Old Mutual provides investment, savings, insurance and banking services to 19.4 million customers in Africa, US, Asia and Europe.

Old Mutual has also said that it would sell its 24.95 percent shareholding in Omam to HNA Capital US in a two-step transaction for gross cash consideration of about $446 million (R5.94 billion).

Since the beginning of the year, Old Mutual has offloaded three stakes in different companies with the financial services group completing the offloading of its Italian arm, Old Mutual Wealth Italy (OMWI) to Phlavia Investimenti, previously Ergo Italia, in January for 278 million euros (R4.04 billion) as part of the consolidation into four core areas.

The group first announced the sale of the Italian stake last year, saying it had entered into short-term negotiations.

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