South Africa’s Alexander Forbes to Chase Acquisitions in 2020

(Bloomberg) --

Alexander Forbes Group Holdings Ltd. plans to make acquisitions that will bolster the South African retirement-services provider’s consulting and administration capabilities as part of its refocused strategy.

“We will start looking outside for growth,” Chief Executive Officer Dawie de Villiers said by phone Monday. “We have done the sales now, so 2020 will be about the acquisitions and that is key for us.”

Since taking the reins in November last year, De Villiers has been exiting countries such as Uganda and Zambia, while disposing of sub-scale businesses, including its property and casualty insurance unit in South Africa. The CEO came on board to spearhead a new strategy aimed at focusing on boosting sales and retaining clients in the company’s main businesses after the group’s former head was fired.

“We are looking at a few smaller deals, mainly to get our foot in the door and see how we can execute on them, but obviously to make a bigger impact we need to look at some bigger deals and we are also busy discussing that,” De Villiers said. Alexander Forbes will do some borrowing to fund transactions, the CEO said.

Additional capital will be distributed to shareholders, he said. The company said in a statement earlier on Monday that operating income increased 1% to 1.6 billion rand ($109 million) for the six months through September. The stock rose as much as 3.6% in Johannesburg.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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