Old Mutual’s First-Half Net Rises 26% on Emerging Market Growth

Old Mutual Plc (OML), the U.K.’s third- largest insurer by market value, said first-half profit gained 26 percent on growth in southern Africa.

Net income rose to 931 million pounds ($1.45 billion), from 738 million pounds a year earlier, the London-based insurer said today in a statement. Adjusted operating earnings per share fell 7.4 percent to 8.7 pence, missing the 9.1 pence median estimate of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Uncertainty about the euro has “affected consumer confidence” and “the U.K. market has also been impacted,” Old Mutual Chief Executive Officer Julian Roberts said in the statement. The company is “expanding in attractive African markets; introducing new products across the group,” he said.

Old Mutual, Africa’s largest insurer, has operations in Europe, the U.K. and South Africa. The company, recovering from two years of losses linked to hedging failures in 2008 and writedowns of investments, is seeking to pay off 1.5 billion pounds of debt by the end of this year, another 200 million pounds next, and achieve a return on equity of 15 percent.

While the asset management unit has seen increased investment in the first half, “in the second quarter, the very volatile conditions saw clients taking a conservative approach to asset allocation and awarding new mandates,” Roberts said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Renee Bonorchis in Johannesburg at rbonorchis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net

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