Sanlam to increase presence in East Africa with PineBridge acquisition

The Sanlam Group is set to acquire a majority stake in PineBridge Investments East Africa, increasing its asset management business in East Africa.

The acquisition, through Sanlam’s subsidiary Sanlam Emerging Markets, is still subject to approval from regulators – the Capital Markets Authority and the Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority, both in Uganda and Kenya.

When complete, PineBridge Investments East Africa will be rebranded Sanlam Investments East Africa Limited, according to a press release announcing the deal.

The South Africa-based Sanlam is listed on the Johannesburg and Namibian Stock Exchanges, and has operations in Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya – as well as other African countries.

Sanlam entered the Uganda market in 2010 when it launched a life insurance business. In 2013 it acquired a 49% stake in the Malawi-listed Nico Holdings, which had a general insurance operation in Uganda. Niko Insurance Uganda later re-branded to Sanlam General Insurance.

Such acquisitions are part of the company‚Äôs strategy to diversify “across geographies, market segments and products.” Sanlam credits the strategy for helping it transform from a “traditional insurer to a well-diversified financial services provider with a direct footprint on four continents” in just over a decade.

In 2015, Sanlam General Insurance had a market share of 2.01% in the non-life insurance segment, down from 2.72% in 2014. Its market share in the life insurance segment also fell to 15.71% from 16.73% in 2014. This could have been influenced by the entrance of the London-based Prudential plc, which acquired Goldstar Assurance.

The PineBridge acquisition will see Sanlam enter the asset management business in Uganda. It will also allow the company to integrate its asset management businesses in the region, as it already has a similar operation in Kenya.