Old Mutual H1 profit flat; declares dividend


JOHANNESBURG – Old Mutual reported no growth in half-year profit on Friday as higher taxes and unemployment hit consumer spending, but the No.2 insurer in South Africa declared an interim dividend of 45 cents per share and a special dividend of 100 cents per share.

Adjusted headline earnings per share, the widely watched profit gauge in South Africa that strips out certain one-off items, came in at 122.3 cents, unchanged from the prior year.

Old Mutual, alongside rivals such as Sanlam, Liberty Holdings and Discovery Ltd, have witnessed a profit squeeze in recent years as cash-strapped consumers put off buying insurance or cancelled their existing policies.

The company largely wrapped up a radical break up aimed at disentangling its costly conglomerate structure with a primary listing in Johannesburg in June.

Old Mutual, which traces its roots back to the mid-19th century as South Africa’s first mutual aid society with 166 members, said it was on track to spin off part of its 53 percent interest in South Africa’s fourth-largest lender, Nedbank, later this year.