Old Mutual 'not losing faith in SA'

Lihle Z Mtshali

Lihle Z Mtshali

The proposed sale of the controlling stake of Mutual and Federal by Old Mutual should not be seen as an indication that the London-listed company is pulling out of South Africa.

"The fact that we might be selling Mutual and Federal doesn't imply any negativity on our part in South Africa," said Old Mutual chief executive Jim Sutcliffe yesterday.

He was responding to speculation that the possible sale of Old Mutual's 75percent stake in the short-term insurer to Royal Bafokeng Holdings might be the beginning of Old Mutual's disinvestment from South Africa.

Old Mutual confirmed yesterday that it was in discussions with Royal Bafokeng Holdings, which could result in the sale of between 60percent and 70percent of shares it holds in Mutual and Federal for about R6billion.

Royal Bafokeng Holdings is the primary investment vehicle of the Royal Bafokeng nation, a community of about 300000 Tswana-speaking people with substantial holdings of mineral-rich land in the North West province.

Mutual and Federal chief executive Keith Kennedy said a takeover by Royal Bafokeng Holdings would be good news for the insurer.