Old Mutual’s First-Quarter Sales Rise on Emerging Market Growth

May 15, 2014 7:33 am ET

May 15 (Bloomberg) -- Old Mutual Plc, Africa’s biggest insurer, said first-quarter sales gained 12 percent after its emerging markets and wealth units recorded growth.

Gross sales rose to 6.2 billion pounds ($10.4 billion), from 5.6 billion a year earlier, and were 24 percent higher on a constant currencies basis, the London-based insurer said in a statement today. Funds under management increased 2 percent to 297.1 million pounds, while net client cash flows declined to 500 million pounds from 3.9 billion a year earlier.

“Old Mutual wealth and emerging markets both produced very strong sales in the quarter,” Chief Executive Officer Julian Roberts said in the statement. “Following very strong inflows throughout 2013, the first quarter saw outflows in U.S. Asset management, primarily in the fixed income, U.S. and international equities asset classes. We continue to look for ways to improve and grow the business.”

Old Mutual is focusing on selling life insurance in fast- growing African countries such as Ghana and Kenya and long-term savings products in the U.K. after cutting costs, selling assets and paying down debt to return to profit after the financial crisis.

“Given the recent regulatory changes in the U.K., the long-term structural growth trends in Africa and the resilient South African financial services market, Old Mutual remains well placed to maintain its strong operational performance,” Roberts said in the statement.