Discovery Invest heads for R10bn

2009-11-26 07:42

Johannesburg - The investment unit of South Africa's Discovery Holdings Ltd is expected to reach R10bn in assets under management in 2010, the insurance firm's chief executive said on Wednesday.

Chief Executive Officer Adrian Gore said Discovery Invest, which was established at the end of 2007 and has 6 billion rand in assets, would be profitable once it reached the 10 billion rand mark.

"The business is relatively new and we think it will be profitable over 10 billion rand," Gore told Reuters in an interview. "The intention is to build it quite significantly, quite rapidly."

The investment subsidiary also holds the Equity Unit Trust which has 111 million rand in assets, Gore said.

Discovery, which owns the country's largest health insurer, has proved relatively robust, outperforming its peers amidst a global economic downturn. It posted a rise in full-year profit in September thanks to an acceleration in new business.

Gore said he expected the company's health business to grow strongly over the next six months, while lapses at its life unit, which holds 40 percent of the local pure life insurance market, were slowing.

The number of lives insured at Discovery's PruHealth joint venture with U.K. firm Prudential Plc, was close to 225,000, Gore said. Discovery reported in October PruHealth had insured 219,000 lives.