Liberty FY earnings up 11 pct, Dloti promoted to CEO

Reuters

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's fourth-largest insurer by market value, Liberty Holdings, posted an 11 percent jump in full-year earnings on Thursday on the back of stronger insurance and asset management business.

The insurer, majority owned by Africa's biggest lender, Standard Bank, said BEE normalised headline earnings per share came in at 1,439.6 cents for the year ended December, from a restated 1,300.1 cents the previous year.

BEE normalised headline earnings, which exclude certain one-time items and take into account the impact of its black shareholder scheme, is Liberty's main performance measure.

Liberty said new insurance revenues rose nearly 15 percent to 6.9 billion rand and cash flows into the asset management division grew 10 percent to 15.7 billion rand.

It declared a 581 cents per share dividend, from 528 cents a year ago.

The company has operations in 14 African countries outside South Africa, including Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, markets that are attracting interest from many companies in the continent's biggest economy.

Liberty also promoted StanLib asset management division boss Thabo Dloti to chief executive, replacing Bruce Hemphill, who is moving on to head Standard Bank's Wealth, Insurance and Non-bank Financial Services business.

Standard Bank is due to report its earnings on March 6.

Liberty's shares are down 1.3 percent so far this year. In comparison, Johannesburg's All-Share index is up 1.6 percent.

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