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Before you get on that aeroplane, check that your passport is still valid

Before you get on that aeroplane, check that your passport is still valid

By Paulus Nakawa, Manager Corporate Communications, Air Namibia

It’s been a long year and November took forever. Knowing that the holiday season is approaching is the focus point of employees, business owners, government workers as well as children and students everywhere. December is the holy grail of holidays for Namibians and we often start planning our time away months in advance. Hopefully saving for the holiday has also started months ago, as we all know about KeDedezemba! The starting point for the holiday season is actually travelling out of town.

Namibia is hot at the best of times, but being in Windhoek around Christmas time is simply unbearable. The coast beckons, or the north or South Africa and perhaps even further overseas to Europe or Asia. Anywhere where a gust of wind or slightly milder temperatures can be found. This often requires getting on an airplane, which around the holidays can bring with it its own set of challenges.

Travelling can be stressful and daunting. Especially if you’re not a frequent flyer or your flying with the family. It requires a bit more preparation and the more methodical you are about it all, the easier the process is and the quicker you will be in Cape Town’s Waterfront or perhaps sipping on glühwein with the family in Germany. The destinations and the possibilities are endless.

Just keep a few things in mind. Everyone wants to see their loved ones, friends and families and get away from it all. So, the flights start filling up quickly. Book your flight well advance. It will avoid disappointment and give you the best deals. Air Namibia allows you to fly both within Namibia to different towns and cities as well as use Namibia as the starting point for the rest of the world.

As everyone leaves on holiday around the same time in December, remember that the lines at check-in and customs may be longer than usual. No one likes to wait and being patient is not always easy, especially when you are about to slide into holiday or family mode. Therefore ensure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare before the flight leaves. Families with children and those travelling in bigger groups also need to realise checking in may take quite a while. So, a good rule of thumb is to be at the airport at least three hours before departure. This way check-in won’t happen in a blind panic while pushed for time.

During the holiday season people are not just checking in luggage, but also Christmas presents and food stuffs for their loved ones. Bringing biltong or Amarula to friends and family overseas will definitely put a smile on their face. However, check if you can bring the things that you would like and whether they need to be in your checked luggage, or if they can simply come aboard in the cabin. Having to confiscate items because they do not adhere to the international aviation rules and regulations is not something we enjoy doing, but we do have to abide by the laws, simply to keep everyone, including the other passengers and flight crew safe.

Another aspect of holiday travel, especially for people that do not fly often, make sure your identification documents and all your travel visas are up to date and correct for the destination that you are travelling too. Nothing is more disappointing than finding that your passport is no longer valid, or valid for the legally required period of time of the country your travelling too. The same applies for the visas. All of this can be organised and checked well in advance of the holiday travelling in December. It actually adds to the anticipation and fun of travelling, knowing that you are sorted ahead of the actual holiday.

It will leave you stress and worry free and allow you to focus on what presents you will get and give and how you will go about losing those extra kg’s that you are sure to put on during this well-deserved Christmas break.

Season’s greetings everyone and safe travels!


 

 

About The Author

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.