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SARDEP helps farmers improve

Saara Bock and Katrina Kooper from Farm Nico Noord seen at the UNCCD COP11 in Windhoek this week. The two farming women told delegates an endearing tale of their struggles to improve their herds and their attempts at growing their own vegetables. (Photograph by Hilmah Hashange)

Saara Bock and Katrina Kooper from Farm Nico Noord seen at the UNCCD COP11 in Windhoek this week. The two farming women told delegates an endearing tale of their struggles to improve their herds and their attempts at growing their own vegetables. (Photograph by Hilmah Hashange)

The Sustainable Animal and Rangeland Development Programme, SARDEP, is one of the successfully implemented donor-supported development projects aimed at supporting farmers to improve and sustain their farming operations.
Established in 1991 under the then Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Rural Development, SARDEP was set up to develop and demonstrate rangeland management strategies and to improve livestock production in pilot communal areas.
The project was intended to produce a sustainable national rangeland and livestock strategy sampled from commercial farming areas and adapted to communal farming. However, the project experienced difficulties at first because of the different farming objectives between commercial and communal farmers. Also, it was found that in the early nineties, communal farmers did not prioritize issues concerning rangeland and livestock management as commercial farmers do.
It was only after the intervention of expert programme advisors of the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) that the programme gained momentum resulting in successful capacity-building amongst communal farmers.
SARDEP continued to develop the livelihood of farmers while at the same time supporting women empowerment in rural areas. One particular farmer to have benefitted from the programme is 53-year old Saara Bock from the Hardap region.
Saara’s farming journey started in 1982 with only one water point for her 7 goats and 15 sheep. She  is now a communal farmer on a 2800 hectare farm called Nico Noord 377 situated 85 km on the B1 road from Mariental. Today her farming operation boasts 150 goats, 600 karakul sheep, 250 persian sheep, 6 donkeys as well as 12 horses.
Speaking through an intepreter, Saara shared her experience during the 11th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP11) in Windhoek. She maintains she previously farmed on commercial land and had to do whatever it takes to improve the quality of land for her animals.She said she started a small garden to sustain her family as her farm did not generate enough income at the time.
“ I was fortunate enough to be introduced to SARDEP and through the programme, I tried various farming methods which helped improve the land I was farming on,” said Saara. One method included treating the land with animal manure and growing vegetables in that area.After a period, she noticed that certain vegetables did not grow well in areas covered with animal dung. According to Saara, such practices helped her realise what worked and what did not.
She said other community development projects were established in her area apart from SARDEP. “We have established a community generating income scheme that would benefit all the farmers in our community especially when times are hard and other projects initiated for women such as crafts and needlework, are proving to be a success,” said Saara adding that farming with karakul sheep has proven to be more sustainable and many of the farmers generate a lot of income from the pelts sold. She said although projects like SARDEP improve the livelihood of communities, not all areas benefit from such programmes because of the pilot approach. She therefore asked that the pilot projects be rolled out so that all communities can benefit from future programmes. According to Saara, another challenge facing the farmers is the issue of land tenure as many of the communities do not own enough land to farm on.

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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