/ 24 April 2006

Sanlam looking at GE’s UK life-insurance business

Sanlam, South Africa’s second-largest life insurer, has confirmed it is examining a possible acquisition of the United Kingdom life insurance business of General Electric (GE) as one of several opportunities for enhancing its capital efficiency.

In a statement on Monday, Sanlam said, however, that its evaluation of the GE business was at an “embryonic stage”.

“Sanlam continuously looks for ways to enhance its capital efficiency and returns to shareholders,” the company said. “In this context we are currently evaluating various opportunities, one of which is looking at the UK life insurance business of GE. Sanlam will keep the market informed of any significant developments in this regard,” it concluded.

The company’s statement was in response to a report in the UK’s Financial Times over the weekend that Sanlam was in exclusive talks to buy GE’s UK life insurance business in a deal worth between £400-million to £500-million.

Sanlam’s share price was down 1,14% or 18c in late trade on Monday, last quoted on the JSE at R15,60 from R15,78 at Friday’s close. By comparison, the FTSE-JSE Africa life-insurers index was trading 0,67% lower so far in the day. — I-Net Bridge