DURBAN - SANLAM yesterday credited its diversity and underlying resilience of its businesses as the Pan-African financial services reported a double-digit growth in earnings for the year to end December despite the market challenges imposed by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Sanlam reported a 24 percent increase in both headline earnings and headline earnings per share to R9.25 billion and 448.5 cents a share, respectively. However, Sanlam reported a R2.08bn Covid-19 impact on its earnings during the period. Its net result from financial services, the group’s key measure of operating earnings performance, declined by 13 percent to R8.38bn, but was up by 17 percent excluding the Covid-19 impact.
The group said the decline in net result from financial services was due to the downturn in equity markets across most markets where it operates, an increase in doubtful debt provisions regarding the group’s institutional and retail credit books, Santam’s CBI claims experience, higher mortality claims from the Covid-19 pandemic as well as substantial Covid-19-related relief offered to clients and intermediaries.
Sanlam rolled out its technology and support to ensure that its clients could be provided with appropriate advice to deal with the financial impacts of the pandemic.
“Premium relief was provided to clients and financial support to intermediaries and Sanlam also committed R2.25bn to seed three impact funds, with the core objective of preserving and creating jobs. Santam made relief payments of R1bn to clients in the hospitality and leisure sector and set up a provision of R3bn to settle all the contingent business interruption claims,” the group said.
Sanlam also supported communities across Africa with more than R1bn of direct Covid-19 relief.
Chief executive Paul Hanratty said the group reported a solid set of financial results despite the Covid-19 outbreak, which had caused pain for its employees, clients and communities.
“Many people remain concerned about their financial situation, their employment and health. Sanlam has been there to provide support and advice. We are satisfied with our financial position which remained strong throughout 2020 as we implemented our strategy while helping clients and other stakeholders to ensure a resilient future,” Hanratty said.
Its new business volumes increased by 25 percent to R311bn and exceeded R300bn for the first time, supported by strong investment business sales while net fund inflows increased by 8 percent to R61.56bn.
Sanlam declared a dividend of 300c compared to last year’s 334c. Looking ahead Sanlam said it expected a slow recovery of real gross domestic product across its markets and that there would continue to be impacts from further waves of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We continue to proactively manage the consequences of Covid-19. Despite a tough 2020 and realisation that we have much to do going forward, we are optimistic about what we can achieve in 2021.
“The environment will continue to be extremely difficult but we have a strategy, committed people and some momentum behind our strategic plans,” Hanratty said.
Sanlam shares closed 0.79 percent higher at R62.84 on the JSE yesterday.