picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi
Johannesburg - Sanlam and Santam on Thursday increased their effective stake in Morocco-based SAHAM Finances by a further 16.6 percent, to 46.6 percent, for U.S.$329 million plus transaction costs after meeting all necessary regulatory approvals. 

SAHAM Finances is an insurance group with operations in 26 countries across North, West and East Africa as well as in the Middle East. It is one of the largest insurers in Africa, and the market leader in most of the countries in which it operates, with a network of 700 branches with more than 3 000 staff. The effective date of the transaction of Sanlam and its short-term insurance subsidiary, Santam, would be 10 May 2017. 

 The South African financial services group said the transaction was funded from internal cash resources. Sanlam said the introduction of gearing to fund a portion of the acquisition consideration will be considered in due course as part of the Group's continual capital management programme. Sanlam and Santam, first acquired a 30 percent effective stake in SAHAM Finances in February 2016 with Sanlam Emerging Markets holding 75 percent and Santam 25 percent thereof. 

Following the acquisition of a further 16.6 percent stake in SAHAM Finances, Sanlam Emerging Markets will now hold 85 percent and Santam 15 percent of the total investment in SAHAM Finances. Sanlam Emerging Markets chief executive, Junior Ngulube, said this transaction confirmed the Sanlam Group's commitment towards strengthening the strategic partnership further. 

 "Having identified strong synergies between the Sanlam and SAHAM Groups, we are committed to unlocking additional collaborations together through our collective skills and network capabilities across Africa," Ngulube said. "We believe this holds significant mutual benefits for the two groups and it will also benefit our stakeholders."