Old Mutual says could dual-list wealth, emerging markets units

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LONDON (Reuters) – Old Mutual said on Tuesday its preferred option after splitting into four would be to have two of the new companies listed on both the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.

The Anglo-South African company expects to complete its restructuring by the end of 2018.

The changes include carving out its emerging markets operations to create a new South African holding company and a company that would mainly comprise the group’s wealth operations.

Chief Executive Bruce Hemphill said the firm had also received approaches for its businesses from industry and private equity players.

“We are still going through a process,” he told Reuters by phone. “We have settled on a preferred route, (but) that does not preclude the possibility of someone coming along with an offer.”

Old Mutual Wealth was valued by analysts earlier in the year at 3-4 billion pounds ($4.01-$5.35 billion).

Hemphill said despite recent market fluctuations following last week’s referendum vote for Britain to leave the European Union, Britain was still a “sure bet” in the longer term.

He declined to comment on the sale of Old Mutual Wealth’s Italian unit, which has attracted four private equity bidders in its final stages, sources told Reuters last week.

But he said Old Mutual was going through a process of “cleaning up” the Italian wealth business.

The firm said it plans to distribute a “significant proportion” of its stake in Nedbank Group Ltd to the shareholders of the new South African holding company.

The FTSE 100-listed company also said it plans to continue cutting its 65.8 percent stake in U.S. asset management firm OMAM.

Old Mutual said it faces headwinds from weakness in the South African rand and from lower equity markets, but said gross sales in the year had been strong.

Old Mutual shares were up 4.6 percent to 186.3 pence at 0826 GMT in line with a bounce in financial stocks following a severe sell-off this week.

Old Mutual will hold its annual general meeting on Wednesday, along with an extraordinary general meeting where shareholders will vote on Hemphill’s proposed 1,000 percent bonus.

($1 = 0.7483 pounds)


(By Noor Zainab Hussain and Carolyn Cohn. Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; editing by Sunil Nair and Jason Neely)

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