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Weather 11 December 2015

Weather 11 December 2015

What Happened
The rigid control of Namibia’s weather by the South Atlantic high pressure cell was amply demonstrated this week.
In the wake of the departing high, the signature mid-level (low pressure) trough developed from southern Angola across Namibia from north to south, and into the Northern Cape interior. This system dominated local conditions over the weekend, continuing into Monday and Tuesday with a mid-level presence remaining until the end of the week.
On Monday, the absence of high pressure control on the surface was witnessed by the cloud base that has descended to around 9000 feet asl. This created an effective conveyor for tropical air from the Congo to traverse southern Angola and enter Namibian airspace during Sunday night. The result was the widespread and substantial falls that occurred over three quarters of the interior plateau and the northern Namib.
But by Tuesday evening, the outer rim of the next approaching South Atlantic high was close enough to exert a visible influence on surface conditions west and south of the so-called convergence line.
As the austral summer nears the solstice, sea surface temperatures in the southern hemisphere respond by getting warmer. This increase in water temperature has a measurable impact on the air immediately above the water. Over time, about three months, the warmer (or less cold) surface air has an impact on the higher levels meaning that the typically winter-style high pressure cells reduce in intensity and their cores may be displaced slightly southward.
At the beginning of this week, the South Atlantic high pressure cell was more or less in its customary place midway between South America and Africa.
However, as the week progressed, the core collapsed with the result that only a very weak (1016mB) cell remained, but at the same time it was dispersed over a vast stretch of ocean reaching all the way from close to the South American coastline to the edge of the African continent. Within the flattened, reduced cell, quiet and stable conditions were the norm. In Namibia it was indicated by the absence of strong westerly and south-westerly wind on the coast, both north and south of the Kuiseb vallley.
It is this weak South Atlantic high that allowed the anti-cyclonic system situated over the southern African interior to advect copious amounts of moisture on its western rim from the Congo to Angola and then into Namibia.
Another important feature of the week’s weather was the presence of moisture in all three levels, from surface up to 45,000 feet. The mid-level conveyor system usually remains active in summer despite the surface influence of the high, but when the high is as weak as this week, then moisture penetrates in all level, from around 9000 feet asl to as high as 45,000 feet. In the very thick atmosphere, convection is enhanced and good rains occur. When this system covers a very large expanse of land, it bring widespread rains.
What’s Coming
The core of the South Atlantic high regains some of its lost strength as the continental obstruction forces it on a trajectory that is deflected to the south. The cloud cover starts breaking up during Friday with only the Kavango and Zambezi regions indicated for continued rain. Temperatures in these two areas will remain elevated as it lies close to the core of the strong anti-cyclonic continental circulation.
Watch out for the tropical depression some 3000 km east of Madagascar. At this stage is relatively far but at 979 mB it is already strong enough to put unlimited quantities of moisture in the upper air from where it can be readily advected back to the continent by the zonal (east to west) upper airflow. It also reduced the strength of the southern Indian high, making room for the approaching South Atlantic high to pass quickly south of the continent.
The Karas region, dry for most of this past week, shows the first signs of clearing up, gradually followed by the rest of the country during Saturday and Sunday. Next week Monday and Tuesday will be mostly clear with a weak intrusion of moisture in the mid-levels, but it will only be towards the end of next week, once the high has departed, that another 4-day rain opportunity presents itself again.

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Sanlam 2018 Annual Results

7 March 2019

 

Sanlam’s 2018 annual results provides testimony to its resilience amid challenging operating conditions and negative investment markets

Sanlam today announced its operational results for the 12 months ended 31 December 2018. The Group made significant progress in strategic execution during 2018. This included the acquisition of the remaining 53% stake in SAHAM Finances, the largest transaction concluded in the Group’s 100-year history, and the approval by Sanlam shareholders of a package of Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) transactions that will position the Group well for accelerated growth in its South African home market.

Operational results for 2018 included 14% growth in the value of new life insurance business (VNB) on a consistent economic basis and more than R2 billion in positive experience variances, testimony to Sanlam’s resilience in difficult times.

The Group relies on its federal operating model and diversified profile in dealing with the challenging operating environment, negative investment markets and volatile currencies. Management continues to focus on growing existing operations and extracting value from recent corporate transactions to drive enhanced future growth.

The negative investment market returns and higher interest rates in a number of markets where the Group operates had a negative impact on growth in operating earnings and some other key performance indicators. This was aggravated by weak economic growth in South Africa and Namibia and internal currency devaluations in Angola, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

Substantial growth in Santam’s operating earnings (net result from financial services) and satisfactory growth by Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM) and Sanlam Corporate offset softer contributions from Sanlam Personal Finance (SPF) and Sanlam Investment Group (SIG).

Key features of the 2018 annual results include:

Net result from financial services increased by 4% compared to the same period in 2017;

Net value of new covered business up 8% to R2 billion (up 14% on a consistent economic basis);

Net fund inflows of R42 billion compared to R37 billion in 2017;

Adjusted Return on Group Equity Value per share of 19.4% exceeded the target of 13.0%; and

Dividend per share of 312 cents, up 8%.

Sanlam Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ian Kirk said: “We are satisfied with our performance in a challenging operating environment. We will continue to focus on managing operations prudently and diligently executing on our strategy to deliver sustainable value to all our stakeholders. The integration of SAHAM Finances is progressing well. In addition, Sanlam shareholders approved the package of B-BBEE transactions, including an equity raising, at the extraordinary general meeting held on 12 December 2018. Our plan to implement these transactions this year remains on track.”

Sanlam Personal Finance (SPF) net result from financial services declined by 5%, largely due to the impact of new growth initiatives and dampened market conditions. Excluding the new initiatives, SPF’s contribution was 1% down on 2017 due to the major impact that the weak equity market performance in South Africa had on fund-based fee income.

SPF’s new business sales increased by 4%, an overall satisfactory result under challenging conditions. Sanlam Sky’s new business increased by an exceptional 71%. Strong growth of 13% in the traditional individual life channel was augmented by the Capitec Bank credit life new business recognised in the first half of 2018, and strong demand for the new Capitec Bank funeral product. The Recurring premium and Strategic Business Development business units also achieved strong growth of 20%, supported by the acquisition of BrightRock in 2017. Glacier new business grew marginally by 1%. Primary sales onto the Linked Investment Service Provider (LISP) platform improved by 5%, an acceptable result given the pressure on investor confidence in the mass affluent market. This was however, offset by lower sales of wrap funds and traditional life products.

The strong growth in new business volumes at Sanlam Sky had a major positive effect on SPF’s VNB growth, which increased by 7% (14% on a comparable basis).

Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM) grew its net result from financial services by 14%. Excluding the impact of corporate activity, earnings were marginally up on 2017 (up 8% excluding the increased new business strain).

New business volumes at SEM increased by 20%. Namibia performed well, increasing new business volumes by 22% despite weak economic conditions. Both life and investment new business grew strongly. Botswana underperformed with the main detractor from new business growth being the investment line of business, which declined by 24%. This line of business is historically more volatile in nature.

The new business growth in the Rest of Africa portfolio was 68% largely due to corporate activity relating to SAHAM Finances, with the East Africa portfolio underperforming.

The Indian insurance businesses continued to perform well, achieving double-digit growth in both life and general insurance in local currency. The Malaysian businesses are finding some traction after a period of underperformance, increasing their overall new business contribution by 3%. New business production is not yet meeting expectations, but the mix of business improved at both businesses.

SEM’s VNB declined by 3% (up 6% on a consistent economic basis and excluding corporate activity). The relatively low growth on a comparable basis is largely attributable to the new business underperformance in East Africa.

Sanlam Investment Group’s (SIG) overall net result from financial services declined by 6%, attributable to lower performance fees at the third party asset manager in South Africa, administration costs incurred for system upgrades in the wealth management business and lower earnings from equity-backed financing transactions at Sanlam Specialised Finance. The other businesses did well to grow earnings, despite the pressure on funds under management due to lower investment markets.

New business volumes declined by 13% mainly due to market volatility and low investor confidence in South Africa. Institutional new inflows remained weak for the full year, while retail inflows also slowed down significantly after a more positive start to the year. The international businesses, UK, attracted strong new inflows (up 57%).

Sanlam Corporate’s net result from financial services increased by 4%, with the muted growth caused by a continuation of high group risk claims experience. Mortality and disability claims experience weakened further in the second half of the year, which is likely to require more rerating of premiums in 2019. The administration units turned profitable in 2018, a major achievement. The healthcare businesses reported satisfactory double-digit growth in earnings, while the Absa Consultants and Actuaries business made a pleasing contribution of R39 million.

New business volumes in life insurance more than doubled, reflecting an exceptional performance. Single premiums grew by 109%, while recurring premiums increased by a particularly satisfactory 56%.

The good growth in recurring and single premium business, combined with modelling improvements, supported a 64% (71% on a comparable economic basis) increase in the cluster’s VNB contribution.

Following a year of major catastrophe events in 2017, Santam experienced a relatively benign claims environment in 2018. Combined with acceptable growth in net earned premiums, it contributed to a 37% increase in gross result from financial services (41% after tax and non-controlling interest). The conventional insurance book achieved an underwriting margin of 9% in 2018 (6% in 2017).

As at 31 December 2018, discretionary capital amounted to a negative R3.7 billion before allowance for the planned B-BBEE share issuance. A number of capital management actions during 2018 affected the balance of available discretionary capital, including the US$1 billion (R13 billion) SAHAM Finances transaction. Cash proceeds from the B-BBEE share issuance will restore the discretionary capital portfolio to between R1 billion and R1.5 billion depending on the final issue price within the R74 to R86 price range approved by shareholders.

Looking forward, the Group said economic growth in South Africa would likely remain weak in the short to medium term future, and would continue to impact efforts to accelerate organic growth. The outlook for economic growth in other regions where the Group operates is more promising. Recent acquisitions such as the SAHAM transaction should also support operational performance going forward.

“We remain focused on executing our strategy. We are confident that we have the calibre of management and staff to prudently navigate the anticipated challenges going forward,” Mr Kirk concluded.

Details of the results for the 12 months ended 31 December 2018 are available at www.sanlam.com.