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Liberty CEO to Join Standard Bank After Net Income Climbs 5.6%

Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Liberty Holdings Ltd., South Africa’s fourth-largest insurer, said Chief Executive Officer Bruce Hemphill will take up a position at its parent, Standard Bank Group Ltd.

Hemphill will become head of wealth, insurance and non-bank financial services at Africa’s biggest lender, Johannesburg-based Liberty said in a statement today. He will be replaced at Liberty by Thabo Dloti, CEO of Stanlib, while Steven Braudo, head of Liberty Retail South Africa, becomes deputy CEO, the insurer said.

Liberty, which has followed Standard Bank in targeting African expansion as growth in its home market slows, said in a separate statement that full-year profit rose 5.6 percent to 3.91 billion rand ($361 million) from a year earlier. The company expects its insurance and asset management units to continue to attract higher levels of new business.

“There has been significant growth in the value of long-term insurance new business, customer cash inflows, operating earnings and the group’s shareholder investment portfolio,” said Liberty, which has operations in 14 African countries outside of South Africa.

Liberty shares rose as much as 2.5 percent and were 0.6 percent higher at 120.73 rand as of 9:14 a.m. in Johannesburg trading.

Earnings per share excluding one-time items increased to 15.59 rand, beating the 14.11 rand per share median estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Liberty will pay a final dividend of 3.69 rand per share, it 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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