File picture

Johannesburg - MMI, South Africa’s third-largest insurer, said fiscal half-year profit climbed 22 percent as the company expanded in Africa.

Net income rose to 1.79 billion rand in the six months through December, from 1.47 billion rand a year earlier, the Cape Town-based company said in a statement today.

Earnings per share excluding one-time items rose 28 percent to 1.17 rand and the interim dividend increased 12 percent to 57 cents per share.

MMI, formed by the merger of Metropolitan and Momentum in 2010, operates in 12 countries outside of South Africa.

Its Metropolitan International unit said on February 24 it bought “a significant majority stake” in Kenyan insurer, Cannon Assurance for about 300 million rand.

On March 3 MMI completed its 1.6 billion rand purchase of Alexander Forbes’ Guardrisk in South Africa.

Growth in new business volumes will “remain dependent on the economic environment, including a recovery in employment and improved disposable income levels,” MMI said.

MMI is the worst-performing stock on the FTSE/JSE Africa Life Assurers Index this year having dropped 9 percent. - Bloomberg News