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Overview for the week and 5-day outlook to Wednesday 28 March 2018

Overview for the week and 5-day outlook to Wednesday 28 March 2018

First Visual: Digitally enhanced satellite image of convection over southern Africa on Thursday 22 March 2018. Image is based on refraction, i.e.temperature differences at 18:00 CAT.
Source: Eumetsat at

Second Visual: Eumetsat infrared satellite image of southern Africa on Thursday 22 March 2018 taken over the Greenwich meridian at 14:00 CAT.

What Happened

With another cold front passing the southern Cape, conditions south of the Orange River this week displayed a distinctly wintery pattern. This was confirmed by the first widespread but light rain over large areas of the Western Cape and the southern Cape region.

Further north however, weather conditions are still dominated by a strong summer pattern witnessed by the position of the southern boundary of the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) which has been sitting on the Namibia Angola border since the previous weekend.

The area in between is more or less the geographical space occupied by Namibia. This slice of southern Africa was marked by a strong zonal air flow on the surface from east to west, originating in the Mozambican Channel and reaching all the way across the continent up to the Namibian escarpment.

A weak low pressure system was present over south-eastern Angola which caused cyclonic circulation over this remote corner which in turn helped to bring moisture from the ITCZ into Namibian airspace.

The zonal push from the east coupled with the cyclonic circulation over southern Angola created a rare conveyor effect which advected moisture from southern Angola into Namibia, developing in intensity as the week progressed, eventually covering almost the entire country except for the coastal plain.

This pattern was detected in all layers of the atmosphere from the surface to as high as 45,000 feet.

It is a rare occurrence in Namibia to have ample moisture from the very low levels at around 8000 feet (750 mB) up to 45,000 feet (less than 200 mB) but when it does happen, it boosts convection and although much of the week’s rainfall was not the result of thunder showers, the pervasive tropical low pressure ensured that the various layers of atmospheric activity strengthened one another, producing showers that endured, in some cases for several hours.

Both images show clearly the concentration of moisture over southern Angola and Western Zambia, and the cyclonic effect which took this moisture into Owamboland and the Kavango in the northern regions.

Over the central high ground, the rainfall mechanics were slightly different, being largely the result of the persistent air flow from the east where the upper atmosphere was saturated with moisture that primarily came from the convective power of the cyclone/tropical storm that migrated down Madagascar’s east coast.

During the second half of the week, another low pressure system developed over central South Africa, helping to reinforce the advective mechanism that drew moisture into the Namibian interior from further north This was most evident on Thursday and Friday as a strong cloud presence started forming in a broad swathe that lay more or less equally distributed over the Fish River from north to south.

What’s Coming

The weather split between early winter conditions in the south and summery conditions in the north continues during the weekend.

Another cold front is close to Cape Town and by Saturday evening, Namibia’s South will see some impact from this front which is at the leading rim of the approaching South Atlantic high pressure cell. Cooler, even windy conditions will prevail in the South.

Continued rainfall is expected for the Northern regions close to the Angola border with the main concentration in Kavango West, Bushmanland along the Botswana border, Bwabwata and the Caprivi section of Zambez


By Monday the country is split into the familiar southern half northern half pattern. While the south remains under the influence of the high crossing the Cape, air flow over the northern half will be predominantly north to north-west. There is a 50/50 chance for light precipitation over the northern half.

Overall, upper air conditions are relatively unstable indicating that showers can develop literally anywhere in the northern half, with the bias in the central and central-northern areas. Moisture levels will remain high, so only limited convection has the potential to produce showers. This implies that rainfall will most likely be the result of classical thunder showers and not the presence of a tropical low pressure system as was the case this week.


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