Sanlam last year spent about $1.1 billion (R16.72bn) to buy all of Casablanca-based Saham Finances and gain a footprint in more African countries than any other financial-services company outside of banking.
This as South African peers including Liberty Holdings and Momentum Metropolitan Holdings focus on their home market and Old Mutual fights with ex-chief executive Peter Moyo while contending with hyper-inflation in Zimbabwe.
“We might just have a little bit longer to execute on the strategy,” Sanlam chief executive Ian Kirk said. “But of course that doesn’t take the pressure off us to deliver.”
Founded in Cape Town in 1918 and now spanning 33 African countries and 12 others from the US and India to Saudi Arabia and the UK, Sanlam is growing its health, life, property and casualty insurance businesses to entrench its position on the continent.