Old Mutual coy over plans for Nedbank sale

Michael Bow
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INSURER Old Mutual saw its share price hit a three-month high yesterday after revealing a 12 per cent rise in profits and plans to expand into sub-Saharan Africa.

Chief executive Julian Roberts said that the firm would boost its footprint in East and West Africa to combat, “sustained low growth.

The firm, based in South Africa, posted a pre-tax operating profit of £791m for the first six months of the year – beating analysts’ expectations of £776m.

This was despite a fall in assets managed by its Old Mutual Asset Management division to £260.7bn, down two per cent from £264.7bn a year earlier.

The firm also increased its interim dividend 17 per cent to 1.75p.

Its star performer was its majority owned South African banking arm Nedbank – it posted a 27 per cent jump in profits. Roberts declined to comment on whether Old Mutual still intended to sell Nedbank.

Old Mutual’s planned sale of its 52 per cent holding in Nedbank to HSBC fell through in 2010.