Old Mutual ups dividend by over a quarter despite tough SA economy
Old Mutual has upped its interim dividend by more than a quarter despite a modest dip in half-year earnings as it suffered from weak economic growth in its main market of SA. The Cape Town-headquartered insurance and investment group’s board declared an interim dividend of 32c per ordinary share for the six-months to end-June, up 28%, thanks to what it described as a "robust operational performance" and a strong capital and liquidity position.
Nevertheless, headline earnings fell 8% to R4.36 billion. Gross written premiums rose 16% to about R12.6 billion in the half-year despite a challenging macro-economic environment, while funds under management grew by 6% to R1.3 trillion driven by positive local equity market performance, though this was partially offset by higher outflows. Old Mutual’s adjusted headline earnings, which exclude the impact of its Zimbabwean business, which is reduced to zero due to hyperinflation in that economy, rose 23% to R3.16 billion in the financial half-year. On a per-share basis, adjusted headline earnings came in at 68.8 cents for the half-year, 21% higher than the previous interim period’s 56.8 cents a share.