Johannesburg - Insurer Sanlam [JSE:SLM], reported a
smaller-than-expected 15% rise in full-year profit on Thursday as consumers
refrained from taking up new policies.
But shares in Sanlam rose about 1% after the Cape Town-based
company declared a forecast-beating dividend and a special dividend.
Sanlam said diluted headline earnings per share totalled 287
cents in the year to end-December, from 250c a year earlier.
That was well below the 298c in a Thomson Reuters StarMine
estimate, which gives more weight to top-ranked analysts.
South African insurers are struggling to write new policies
as unemployment, high personal debt levels and a tentative economic growth eat
into consumers' deposable income.
But a rally in domestic equity and bond markets over the
last year, which boosts fees earned on assets under their management, has
helped them maintain some growth.
Sanlam, which owns a controlling stake in domestic short
term insurer Santam [JSE:SNT], lifted its annual dividend by 27% to 165c per
share and said it would pay an additional 50c in a special dividend.
StarMine had predicted a dividend payout of 16c per share.
“The five pillars that underpin our strategy continue to
yield good results for us and we will continue to pursue this focus going
forward in order to sustain our performance and grow shareholder value while
treating customers fairly,” said Sanlam CEO Johan van Zyl.
The company's stock picked up 0.7% to R48.04 by 09:16 GMT,
largely in line with the JSE Top 40 - (Tradeable) [JSE:J200] index.
Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.