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COMPANIES

Sanlam flexes chequebook with yet another acquisition

Sanlam flexes chequebook with yet another acquisition
The Sanlam office in Cape Town. (Photo: Gallo Images / ER Lombard)

Financial services giant Sanlam continues to expand slowly but surely via inorganic growth. In the latest of a series of announcements over the past 18 months, the company announced its intention to acquire a controlling shareholding in AfroCentric, which owns medical scheme administrator Medscheme.

Sanlam Life Insurance currently holds 28.7% in ACT Healthcare Assets, which in turn holds AfroCentric’s businesses, including Medscheme and AfroCentric’s pharmacy businesses – Pharmacy Direct, medicinal wholesaler Curasana and Activo Health.

Activo Health was in the news earlier this year when the Government Employees Medical Scheme (Gems) was placed under investigation by the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) for awarding a R600-million contract to Activo Health to supply adult beneficiaries with vitamins. Gems had outsourced the awarding of the contract to its administrator, Medscheme. The CMS has not issued any update since the original notification that the awarding of the contract was being investigated.

The AfroCentric transaction will see Sanlam transfer its shareholding in ACT Healthcare Assets to AfroCentric in exchange for a 28.7% controlling stake in AfroCentric. Sanlam has offered a purchase consideration of R6 per AfroCentric share, and AfroCentric shareholders have the option to receive the purchase consideration in cash or in Sanlam shares. 

Sanlam group CEO Paul Hanratty says Afrocentric will be an “attractive addition to Sanlam’s stable of offerings”, being a diversified and integrated healthcare provider that provides services to 3.8 million members. The deal is subject to approvals from the Competition Tribunal and Takeover Regulation Panel.

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In May this year, Sanlam entered a joint venture with Allianz to form the largest Pan-African non-banking financial services entity on the continent, with a combined total group equity value of more than R33-billion. At the time, Hanratty said the joint venture would strengthen Sanlam’s leadership position in key markets core to its Africa strategy, “building quality and scale where it matters”.

Over the year to June this year, Sanlam also completed the acquisition of the Alexforbes life insurance book.

All signs point to further growth as Sanlam’s discretionary capital increased from R2.9-billion at the end of 2021 to R6.6-billion by the end of June this year. 

When results for the six months to June were released, Hanratty hinted at this, saying that “the group will continue to invest strongly as it is positive about its outlook… Some of the acquisitions to create scale will take several years to fully yield efficiency, but management is giving these the requisite attention”.

Sanlam shares closed 3.17% down at R48.63, having fallen 30.53% over the past six months and 11.66% over the past month. BM/DM

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