November 24, 2015 / 7:57 AM / 3 years ago

South Africa's Sanlam to pay $375 mln for a third of Morocco's Saham Finances

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 24 (Reuters) - South Africa’s largest insurer Sanlam said on Tuesday it will buy nearly one-third of Morocco’s Saham Finances for $375 million, as part of a strategy to look for new streams of income to offset slowing growth at home.

The stake in Saham Finances would be acquired from the World Bank’s private sector lending arm International Finance Corporation and buyout firm, The Abraaj Group, Sanlam said.

Insurers in Africa’s most industrialised economy are struggling to sell insurance at a faster rate as job losses sweep across the country’s mining and manufacturing industry.

In response, Sanlam, along with rivals, has been bulking up its presence in Africa, where rapid economic growth has increased the number of people with money to spend on insurance to protect their wealth.

“The transaction provides the Sanlam Group with the opportunity of a single entry point to expand in both North and West Africa,” Sanlam said.

Saham Finances sells insurance across 26 countries in north, east and west Africa. It is controlled by Saham Group, founded in 1995 by Moroccan tycoon - and current trade and industry minister - Moulay Hafid Elalamy.

Sanlam operates in several African countries including oil-rich Ghana, Africa’s biggest economy Nigeria and in Kenya, the strongest economy in East Africa. (Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by James Macharia)

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