NAIROBI, KENYA, MAR 14 — The recent completion of a $1billion (Ksh101.3 billion) corporate acquisition of Moroccan insurer Saham Finances by South Africa based insurer-Sanlam limited has elicited excitement in the Kenyan market.
The local Sanlam Group affiliate-Sanlam Kenya has expressed confidence the deal by its mother company will help growth of the group’s business in the continent.
Sanlam limited, South Africa’s biggest insurer, has bought out the North Africa headquartered insurance firm as part of its plan to become a Pan-Africa insurance group.
The deal will give Sanlam, valued at more than $16 billion, access to Saham’s fast-growing African business in 26 countries, through 65 subsidiaries across the continent.
The acquisition, subject to regulatory approvals announced last week and billed as the single largest insurance firm transaction in Africa, will not affect Sanlam Kenya’s local operations and will only serve to enhance the firm’s service delivery capacity, its Kenya’s subsidiary said.
Sanlam Kenya is part of the Sanlam Group and operates under the Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM) business cluster which will also cover Saham Finances moving ahead.
The deal places Sanlam at a competitive edge in the continent’s insurance industry, allowing it to service multi-national clients and their intermediaries more effectively.
Speaking when he acknowledged the corporate developments, Sanlam Kenya acting Group CEO George Kuria said the acquisition has effectively positioned the Sanlam Group as Africa’s largest non-bank financial services provider with added benefits for the firm’s clients.
“At Sanlam Kenya we welcome and celebrate the developments. Fundamentally, this transaction has no material impact on Sanlam Kenya’s operations at a corporate level as it is an acquisition at the continental Group level,” Kuria said.
“Our clients can now enjoy the added advantage of knowing that we have sufficient scale to cover their needs as we belong to the Sanlam Group; Africa’s largest non-bank financial services provider,” he added.
Sanlam Group CEO Ian Kirk last week said the acquisition of the remaining 53 per cent of SAHAM Finances, which increases its shareholding to 100 per cent in the Group, was the next logical step for Sanlam, which now enables it to have an even more meaningful presence across sub-Saharan and North Africa, in line with its strategy.
“Given our footprint, the transaction positions Sanlam as the ‘go to’ financial services provider for multinationals, brokers, banks, other distribution entities as well as a preferred network of partners for international insurers with no African footprint,” Kirk said, during the release of the firm’s annual results in South Africa.
Commenting on the transaction, SAHAM Group’s spokesperson Moulay Mhamed Elalamy, said: “Saham Group values greatly the partnership with Sanlam, a company that shares the same values and the same ambition for the continent. We wish to deepen and diversify this kind of alliance with other major players in order to fast-track our development.”
The acquisition of Saham Finances will enable Sanlam, its subsidiaries and associates (the “Sanlam Group”) to deepen its direct presence in North Africa as well as Francophone West Africa and Southern African Lusophone countries, which provides it with a unique positioning on the African continent.
The two entities will also enjoy potential synergies in general insurance, including optimisation of reinsurance and enhancement of Sanlam’s product line diversification.
Sanlam Kenya, formerly Pan Africa Insurance Holdings is a Kenyan incorporated diversified financial services group listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange. Sanlam Kenya provides a comprehensive suite of financial solutions tailored to meet the distinctive Kenyan market needs.