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“DRC elections represents a major milestone in SADC” – elections postponed by one week

“DRC elections represents a major milestone in SADC” – elections postponed by one week

sardc.net – The long-awaited election in the Democratic Republic of Congo marks an important milestone on the path to recovery, stability and peace.

The Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Namibian President, HE Dr Hage Geingob said this ahead of the polls initially set for 23 December, and later rescheduled to 30 December.

He said SADC remains fully committed to assisting the DRC to address its challenges, adding that it is critical for all stakeholders to “continue promoting a culture of tolerance and restraint and ensure that the elections are not only successful but also peaceful and transparent.”

“SADC wishes to further emphasise that the forthcoming elections represent a major milestone in the history of the DRC and are instrumental in establishing sustainable peace and political stability,” Dr Geingob said in a statement.

He said the recent and unexpected destruction of electoral materials caused by a fire that gutted some parts of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) building in Kinshasa should not be allowed to dent progress made towards “holding successful elections within the mandated timeframes.”

Following the fire incident, CENI was forced to delay the elections by a week to allow time to address some of the challenges caused by the fire at its offices on 13 December.

Dr Geingob said SADC will “continue to closely follow the electoral process and will report its observations to the relevant SADC political Organ in line with the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.”

In early December, the SADC Election Observer Mission (SEOM) was launched to observe the pre-elections phase, the elections, and the post-elections

Former Chief Justice of Zambia, Justice Ernest Sakala is head of the SEOM, which in the DRC at the invitation of the CENI and its conduct will be in consistent with provisions of the Revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.

As per tradition, the SEOM will issue a statement after the elections on the conduct of the poll.

Speaking at the launch ceremony of the SEOM, Sakala said the election observation mission for the 2018 elections in the DRC is a continuation of SADC’s support to bring lasting political stability to the country.

He said a total of 94 observers have been deployed throughout the country to monitor the elections and ensure that the polls are held in conformity with national, regional and international standards to promote lasting political stability to the country.

“On behalf of the SADC Electoral Observation Mission, I wish to appeal to all stakeholders in this great country to ensure that ensure these elections are managed in a peaceful, transparent credible manner.”

Sakala said that, prior to the launch of SEOM, the SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC) was deployed in July and November as a precautious measure to inform the Ministerial Committee of the Organ (MCO) on the appropriate action to be taken in support of the electoral process.

SADC opened a Liaison Office in Kinshasa in April to provide an avenue for closer collaboration with Congolese stakeholders

Through the Liaison Office, SADC offered support to the DRC to attain sustainable peace, political stability and socioeconomic development, as well as to prepare for the forthcoming elections.

The SEOM is expected to interact with other regional and international missions invited by the DRC to monitor the elections such as the Africa Union and the European Union.

The expectations of the SEOM and other missions would be guided and measured mainly against provisions and requirements of the DRC Constitution, as well as the SADC Treaty, the Revised SADC Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and the Revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.

According to the CENI, a total of 21 candidates will take part in the presidential elections while more than 15,000 candidates will contest the parliamentary polls.

Some of the leading presidential candidates include former Interior Minister Emmanuel Shadary who has the support of incumbent President Joseph Kabila.

Others are Felix Tshisekedi, president of the main opposition party, Union for Democracy and Social Progress; and Vital Kamerhe of the Union for the Congolese Nation who came third in the last election held in 2011.

The elections in DRC were originally supposed to be held in 2016 when the second and final term of President Kabila ended.

However, various challenges, including internal instability and conflict in the east of the country, as well as lack of capacity of the electoral commission prevented the elections from taking place.

SADC has been seized with the political and electoral situation in the DRC since 1998 when the country joined SADC.

In August 2017 at the 37th SADC Summit held in Pretoria, South Africa, the Summit appointed former Namibian President Sam Nujoma as its special envoy to mediate in the peace talks.

The conduct of the forthcoming presidential election in the DRC should, therefore, be viewed in the context of these ongoing regional initiatives that are designed to bring lasting political stability to the country.


Southern African News Features are produced by the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC), which has monitored regional developments since 1985. Website and Virtual Library at www.sardc.net.


 

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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.