Johannesburg - Santam Ltd., South Africa’s largest property and casualty insurer, said full-year profit climbed 9 percent after a tax charge in 2012 wasn’t repeated.

Net income rose to 1.12 billion rand ($104 million) from 1.03 billion rand a year earlier, the Cape Town-based company said in a statement today.

Santam paid 300 million rand of tax last year after charges relating to capital gains and secondary tax weren’t repeated, the insurer said.

Santam, controlled by the biggest South African-based insurer, Sanlam Ltd., said premium income climbed 7 percent to 16.8 billion rand.

The company, which also has operations in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia, said it expects “sluggish economic growth” in the next financial year and “uncertain” investment returns.

“Our biggest challenge in the short term will be to balance growth and profitability,” Santam said in the statement.

Santam’s shares rose 3.3 percent to 169.95 rand as of 4:21 p.m. in Johannesburg trading, paring this year’s decline to 8.8 percent. The company boosted its final dividend by 5.6 percent to 4.33 rand per share.

Hailstorms in Johannesburg in November led to industry claims in excess of 1.6 billion rand, Santam said. - Bloomberg News