JOHANNESBURG, March 6 (Reuters) - South African life insurer Sanlam reported a 39 percent rise in full-year earnings on Thursday, boosted by new businesses in Africa and Asia.
South Africa's largest insurer by market value said diluted headline earnings per share rose to 397.8 cents in the year ended December 31 from 286.8 cents a year earlier.
Headline EPS is the benchmark profit measure in South Africa and excludes certain one-time items.
Sanlam had earlier indicated it expected earnings to rise by as much as 40 percent.
New business rose 36 percent to 185 billion rand ($17 billion). Its new covered business margin was 3.06 percent, down from 3.22 percent last year.
Earnings from financial services rose 35 percent to 5.4 billion rand.
Sanlam shares were up 0.4 percent at 0721 GMT versus Johannesburg's Top-40 index which was up 0.11 percent.
$1 = 10.7042 South African rand Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; editing by Jason Neely