All systems go for major Sanlam Emerging Markets deal

Conditions met for acquisition of Morocco-based SAHAM Finances, turning Sanlam into leading pan-African financial services group

Sanlam’s conclusion of its biggest acquisition to date transforms the Group into a leading financial services player in Africa, opening the way for a major growth drive on the continent

Sanlam and Santam have announced the fulfilment of all conditions precedent for the acquisition of the remaining 53.37% of Morocco-based SAHAM Finances, effective 9 October, after regulators in various jurisdictions approved the deal. Sanlam and Santam now hold an effective interest in SAHAM Finances of 90% and 10% respectively.

“The conclusion of this transaction is an important milestone in achieving our vision of becoming a leading financial services group on the continent. The confluence of the combined footprint and respective expertise of Sanlam, Santam and SAHAM Finances provides the Sanlam Group with an opportunity to grow its Life Insurance businesses in Francophone markets as well as leveraging the Group’s expertise to grow the general insurance portfolio. We are uniquely positioned to be the ‘go to’ financial services partner for multinationals doing business on the continent,” says Ian Kirk, Group CEO of Sanlam

One-stop shop

The acquisition creates a pan-African financial services group able to offer a full product suite to clients ranging from individuals to corporates. Sanlam’s size and reach will provide a significant strategic advantage, enabling it to expand its multinational client base, strengthen its position in specialist insurance and employee benefits, and serve as the preferred partner for insurers without a presence in Africa.

“The African presence of the combined Group is unparalleled in the industry,” says Junior Ngulube, Chief Executive Officer of Sanlam Emerging Markets. “With expertise across life, general and specialist insurance and investment management in Africa we now have significant opportunities for cross-selling and diversification. Through Santam, we will offer specialist insurance solutions. We are looking for growth across the continent. The transaction has the full support of the Board and executive team of SAHAM Finances. Nadia Fettah will remain the CEO of SAHAM Finances and together with Emmanuel Brule, Deputy CEO of SAHAM Finances, will join the Sanlam Emerging Markets executive committee”

From the Cape to Casablanca

The acquisition deepens Sanlam’s direct presence in 33 countries stretching from the Cape to the Maghreb and East and West Africa, giving it unmatched access to the continent’s insurance market.

“The businesses are complementary,” says SAHAM Finances Chief Executive Officer Nadia Fattah. “SAHAM Finances developed into a leading insurance group in Africa outside of South Africa, with leading businesses in most of the 26 countries in which it operates.“

SAHAM Finances will be branded as a “member of Sanlam Group” over the short term across its existing businesses.

“Santam’s increased effective interest in SAHAM Finances is underpinned by the opportunity for Santam to play a leading role in expanding and managing the combined SAHAM Finances and Santam specialist business in Africa in conjunction with SEM and SAHAM Finances, to become the leading pan-African specialist insurance provider,” says Lizé Lambrechts, Chief Executive Officer of Santam. “In addition, Santam will also will play a more meaningful role in the reinsurance businesses of SAHAM Finances” says Lambrechts.


Sanlam is significantly extending its African reach through gaining a business with 65 subsidiaries, a network of 700 branches, more than 3 000 employees and $1.2 billion in annual turnover. Despite the considerable reach of both companies, SAHAM Finances and Sanlam have until now overlapped in just four countries: Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda.

Since its establishment in Morocco in 1995 as a subsidiary of SAHAM Group – which also owns health, food and distribution interests – SAHAM Finances has expanded rapidly. At end-2017 it had consolidated net assets worth $850 million and earnings of $77.4 million for the year.

The two companies began their partnership in 2016, when Sanlam Emerging Markets acquired a 30% stake in SAHAM Finances. Sanlam increased its stake to 46.6% the following year.