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Old Mutual invests US$18m into infrastructure

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Old Mutual invests US$18m into infrastructure

OLD Mutual Zimbabwe Limited says it has invested US$18 million into private equity and infrastructure projects in key sectors of the economy such as energy and small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

Mr Samuel Matsekete, the group’s chief executive, said the company continued to invest in infrastructure and real estate projects and other conventional investments.

“A significant part of these investments was skewed towards supporting special interest sectors such as energy, and we will continue to seek opportunities where we can collaborate with regulatory authorities with a view to developing prescribed assets that preserve value for customers and protect policyholder investments,” he said in a statement accompanying financials for the half year to June 30, 2021.

Mr Matsekete said during the period under review, the group concluded a transaction for the purchase of a vacant piece of land near the Zambezi River gorge which is under the tourism sector.

“We also completed Phase One of the construction of Palm River Hotel in Victoria Falls, together with our joint venture partner, and this development creates additional exposure to tourism assets in the fast developing Victoria Falls area,” he said.

Mr Matsekete said during the period under review, the business complied with all regulatory capital requirements and sustained strong capital levels to cover possible stress periods while supporting the business growth aspirations.

“Though there has been a notable slow-down in inflation, the current levels remain high and with it, the risk of loss of value. Our investment approach continued to skew towards non-monetary assets to mitigate high levels of inflation on customer value as well as capital of the business,” Mr Matsekete said.

He said the company welcomed legislative efforts by the Government to create space for insurance and pension funds to access offshore investments which would help with diversification.

“In the life business the Guaranteed Fund bonus continues to be declared monthly to pass on value to customers on a more frequent basis,” said Mr Matsekete.

In terms of the group’s financial performance for the period, profit before tax increased to $11,2 billion up from $8,9 billion achieved in the same period last year while total assets reached $141,3 billion, a 23 percent increase from $114,6 billion as at December 31, 2020.

On a historical cost basis, the group’s life and general insurance businesses’ net earned premiums grew 517 percent to $3,3 billion up from $554 million in the same period in 2020.

“This growth was a result of increases in the nominal value of premiums due to the impact of inflation and currency depreciation as well as growth in volumes,” Mr Matsekete said.

He said investment returns grew to $41 billion from $31,2 billion in the comparable prior year period driven by significant gains on listed equities and translation of foreign currency denominated investments.

Banking interest income grew 494 percent to $2,2 billion largely driven by growth in interest earning assets which were influenced by a combination of translation of loans denominated in foreign currency, local inflation, and growth in lending activity.

“Fees and commission income grew by 460 percent to $2,8 billion driven by growth in volume of transactions in the digital and internet banking space and an increase in nominal values of transactions,” Mr Matsekete said.

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