JOHANNESBURG - South African short-term insurer Santam posted an expected 29 percent drop in half-year earnings on Wednesday due to the impact of a significant increase in the taxes.

Santam, which is majority owned by life insurer Sanlam , said headline earnings per share came in at 415 cents in the six months to end-June from 584 cents a year ago.

Headline earnings, the main gauge of profit in South Africa, exclude some one-time items.

The insurer had flagged that earnings would be at least 25 percent lower.

Its income tax charge rose by over 84 percent from the previous year, mainly due to the tariffs levied on a special dividend pay out.

South Africa's largest property and casualty insurer's net insurance premiums rose 10 percent to 7.7 billion rand ($914.98 million) from a year earlier. Underwriting came in 21 percent lower at 471 million rand, while investment income rose 12 percent to 337 million rand.

Santam, which has interests in at least six other African countries, declared a 230 cents dividend for its half-year, compared with 200 cents previously.

Its shares dropped 3 percent to 172.01 rand on the news, compared with a 0.17 percent fall in Johannesburg's All-share index. - Reuters