Sanlam is digging to extract value from its emerging markets business with the redeployment of CFO Heinie Werth to head the Sanlam Emerging Markets. Photo: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Sanlam is digging deep to extract value from its Africa and emerging markets business with the redeployment of chief financial officer Heinie Werth to head the Sanlam Emerging Markets. 

Werth, who was the chief of Sanlam Developing Markets for 10 years until 2016 when he took up his current position, assumed the additional responsibility for the businesses in Lebanon, India and Malaysia this year. The appointments, effective next month, will see current Sanlam Pan Africa (SPA) chief executive Junior Ngulube assume the role of vice chairperson of SPA. 

“This is a positive development, given that they are essentially looking at extracting value from the 
 Africa business, particularly after acquisition of Morroco’s Saham last year,” Karl Gevers, analyst at Benguela Global Fund Managers, said. 

Sanlam has to date expanded into 33 African countries through the acquisition of Saham Finances in a $1.1 billion (R15.29bn) deal to acquire the remaining 53.37 percent stake in the Moroccan insurance firm, which helped the group cement its presence in North Africa. “The geographic spread, size and complexity of the SEM cluster as well as the size of the investment we have made to acquire Saham Finances is unprecedented within Sanlam and possibly in the industry. 

“I believe that the combined and complementary efforts of Heinie and Junior will assist to take the SEM Cluster, and the Sanlam Group as a whole, to an unparalleled competitive position,” Sanlam Group chief executive, Ian Kirk, said. Gevers said given the growth constraints in the local economy, Sanlam was prioritising other growth areas to cushion itself from the local conditions. “Given the size of Saham, it requires someone to be focused on that portfolio because it is a primary driver for their business from that end. “They will need to extract value and Werth’s appointment is a sign that they are prioritising growth,” Gevers said. 

Wikus Olivier, currently the executive head: group finance, will act in the position of interim chief financial officer with effect from August 1, 2019, until the group commences a recruitment process to fill the role of group financial director permanently. “We will immediately start the process to recruit a new group financial director and we will inform the market about our progress in due course,” the group said. Sanlam declined 1.28 percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R75.87.