Sanlam's Bellville head office in the Western Cape. Picture: David Ritchie.

Johannesburg - Sanlam, South Africa's largest insurer by market value, plans to spend up to 550 million rand to increase its stake in the insurance arm of India's Shriram Group to 49 percent by the end of the year, its chief executive said on Thursday.

The company, which has a 3.3 billion rand warchest for expansion in its Indian and African operations, is also scouring Ghana and Kenya for possible acquisitions, Johan van Zyl told Reuters.

“The key is to build our footprint in Africa. In India we have seen some movement toward lifting the foreign direct investment limit of 26 percent to 49 percent,” he said.

The company has already spent another 1.5 billion rand on expansion since January. - Reuters