August 31, 2018 / 6:10 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-South Africa's Old Mutual H1 profit flat; declares dividend

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JOHANNESBURG, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Old Mutual reported no growth in half-year profit on Friday as higher taxes and unemployment hit consumer spending, but the No.2 insurer in South Africa declared an interim dividend of 45 cents per share and a special dividend of 100 cents per share.

Adjusted headline earnings per share, the widely watched profit gauge in South Africa that strips out certain one-off items, came in at 122.3 cents, unchanged from the prior year.

Old Mutual, alongside rivals such Sanlam, Liberty Holdings and Discovery Ltd, have witnessed a profit squeeze in recent years as cash-strapped consumers put off buying insurance or cancelled their existing policies.

The company largely wrapped up a radical break up aimed at disentagling its costly conglemerate structure with a primary listing in Johannesburg in June.

Old Mutual, which traces its roots back to the mid-19th century as South Africa’s first mutual aid society with 166 members, said it was on track to spin off part of its 53 percent interest in South Africa’s fourth largest lender, Nedbank , later this year. (Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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