Alexander Forbes to spread wings in Africa
Alexander Forbes is exploring opportunities in Ghana and Tanzania and looking to strengthen its existing Africa operations in Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda, CE Edward Kieswetter said in the company’s latest annual report.
In this financial year the group will also focus on growth opportunities in Zambia and Uganda.
Alexander Forbes’s annual report for the year ended March 2013 shows the company’s presence in Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The African operation is referred to as AfriNet.
Namibia contributes 47% of the net revenue to AfriNet, followed by Botswana at 33%, Kenya at 17% and Nigeria at 2%.
In light of the growth opportunities in Africa, there is room for Alexander Forbes to expand AfriNet, it says.
AfriNet is the smallest revenue contributor within the group, with net revenue of R202m in the year to end-March 2013.
Alexander Forbes Financial Services is the largest revenue contributor in the group, with net revenue of R1.6bn.
The group’s income from continuing operations was R4.4bn in the year to end-March.
The company has been disposing of what it regards as noncore assets ahead of an expected exit of its private equity shareholders, Actis and Ethos.
"In addition to our commercial aspirations we are mindful of the need to prepare for the likely exit of our current private equity investors in the next 24 months," Alexander Forbes chairman Sello Moloko said in the annual report.
"In this regard, we have appointed Deutsche Bank and Rand Merchant Bank as strategic advisers.
"As we respond to this factor, we will remain committed to the long-term integrity of the business and will continue our efforts to build a business for the future."
Mr Kieswetter said in his group CE’s review that the company’s immediate focus was to continue growing organically and fully implement the rationalisation of nonstrategic assets.
The company is also looking to grow its retail and public sector businesses.
One of the initiatives launched by Alexander Forbes and likely to be key for growth in the emerging retail and public sector businesses is its Benefits Barometer, from the Alexander Forbes Financial Services research and product development unit.
The barometer aims to understand whether employee benefits ”” which include health, risk and retirement products ”” are "truly meeting the needs of individuals throughout their lives".
"The study also aimed to identify the changes necessary at a business and industry level to ensure the best outcomes for individuals," the company said.