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Overview for the week and 5-day outlook to Wednesday 14 November 2018

Overview for the week and 5-day outlook to Wednesday 14 November 2018

First Visual: Sea Level Pressure for Tuesday 06 November

Source:GrADS/COLA, George Mason University,

Second Visual: Southern Africa Synoptic Map on Wednesday 07 November

Source: South African Weather Service,

What Happened

The two visuals from different sources show the synoptic progressions over two days and how it impacted Namibian weather. It is also a visual display of a larger synoptic picture that still portrays a distinctly winter stance.

This week, for the first time this season, the technical elements are in place to refer to local conditions as a heat wave. This may appear to be anomalous but that is the reason why two visuals were chosen. Specifically to show that earlier in the week local (Namibian) conditions were subject to the control of the high pressure cell on the surface, and that later in the week, as this cell has migrated to the east, the high pressure control came in the stratosphere from its surface source in the south-east.

While Namibia is now well into daytime summer conditions having passed 13 hours of sunshine per day last week, the impact and reach of the South Atlantic high pressure cell must never be underestimated or disregarded. This week is an illustration of this reality check.

The beginning of the week showed a typical synoptic pattern with the South Atlantic high offshore the west coast and the southern Indian high about 1500 kilometres east-south-east of Madagascar.

Over Namibia, the reigning airflow was split between north and south. The southern half had a steady south-westerly to southerly flow while the north, similar to last week, had a steady north-easterly flow with a curve-back over the Kunene region. This led to a fresh north wind along the central Namib coastline which endured for roughly three days.

The South Atlantic high made landfall during Tuesday with a slightly stronger core reading of 1028 mB. 1024 mB is the more typical winter reading so the higher pressure indicates that the cold cell that spread over South Africa was indeed unseasonally strong. (See first visual)

In Namibia the first impact was felt on Tuesday morning, the more severe the further south one looks. This cold intrusion spread to about the Grootfontein latitude but was quickly dispelled during the day by the steady north-easterly flow of warmer air. At that stage there was no discernible ridging. The same pattern repeated on Wednesday and by Thursday the surface impact (cold) of the high was gone.

By Thursday, the first signs of ridging appeared. This is high pressure control in the alto levels (stratosphere) and it is indicated in red on the South African Weather Service synoptic map. When there is high pressure control in the upper air, the airmass tends to sink later in the afternoon when the sun’s energy slowly recedes. This sinking air column, often as high as 50,000 feet, very slowly compresses in the process releasing energy which pushes up the ambient temperature on the surface.

This is what happened late on Thursday and on Friday from just after noon, and will continue on Saturday and Sunday, and into next week.

What’s Coming

The entire Namibia experiences heat wave conditions during the weekend. The extensive ridging, both in geographical area and height, continues for the next four days. It will also cover the entire Botswana and most of South Africa’s North West and Northern Cape provinces.

On the surface, conditions will be somewhat different with the airflow remaining north. This will bring in some moisture and warmer air from Angola, but only between 15,000 and 30,000 feet.

This should produce a shallow layer of cloud around 18,000 feet which has the potential to spread from Ruacana through the interior to the northern parts of the Karasburg district.

But similar to 2016, this will be a flat layer of cloud only, almost like a blanket that serves as a shield against the sun’s direct rays, but can do nothing to prevent the diabatic compression that will continue in the afternoons. This band of clouds may even produce light rain from Omusati through western Etosha into the Outjo district, but the chances are rather slim and any precipitation will be counted in drops.

For the entire country, the days will be blistering, especially the afternoons. It is only after next Wednesday that some shift in the weather pattern is expected. The feature to watch is Cyclone Alcide at the northern tip of Madagascar, marked in blue on the synoptic map.


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