Old Mutual says it’s unfazed by failed deal to buy Nedbank

City A.M. Reporter
Insurer Old Mutual yesterday reported better-than-expected sales and said plans to streamline the company were on track despite a failed attempt to sell banking subsidiary Nedbank to HSBC.

Old Mutual boss Julian Roberts said HSBC’s surprise withdrawal last month from the deal, seen as a key plank of Old Mutual’s overhaul, was “a shock to everybody,” but would not derail the three-year restructuring effort. “Right now we’re thinking of what is the appropriate option for us moving forward. We’re not in any rush to do anything,” he said.

Old Mutual, an Anglo-South African financial conglomerate with operations in over 30 countries, had intended to sell its majority stake in South Africa’s Nedbank as part of a strategy to concentrate on life insurance amid investor concerns its lack of focus had held back its share price.

Old Mutual reported unit trust sales for the three months to 30 September of £2.9bn, up 36 per cent compared with the same period last year, and well ahead of the £2.2bn expected by analysts. The strong unit trust sales offset a flat performance in life insurance, where sales rose one per cent on the year to £351m, lagging consensus at £372m.