OM upbeat about its results

Insurance and financial services group, Old Mutual is upbeat about its results for 2002, though operating profit was down 15 percent in pounds sterling but up 8 percent in rand.

Operating profit declined from 856 million pounds to 724 million pounds but profit for the year was 157 million pounds an improvement from a loss of 264 million pounds the previous year.

The group says 2002 was a year of bedding down on its path to internationalisation.

Each of its acquisitions in the United States of America and the United Kingdom made progress towards the group's long term goals.

The acquisition of BoE in South Africa made it the largest bank in South Africa while the insurance business had a solid year.

The group says it now has a mix of equity and fixed interest businesses, with a good spread of both retail and institutional clients.

South Africa remains its hub with 60 percent of the business followed by the United States with 30 percent and the United Kingdom with 10 percent.

The group says it had record life sales of 557 million pounds and record new life business of 130 million pounds.

The United States contributed 54 percent of life sales. Asset management also performed well with over 80 percent of the United States institutional clients realising returns exceeding their benchmarks for three-year periods.

It says assets under management declined by 14 percent to 123.6 billion pounds but it says this was a creditable result as the S & P 500 index had declined by 22 percent, the NASDAQ composite index by 32 percent and the FTSE 100 index by 24 percent.

It says its acquisition of BoE should see it delivering R900 million per annum by 2006. BoE was the sixth largest bank in South Africa.

It says to increase its strategic focus it sold GNI, Old Mutual Securities, and King and Saxon Bond Brokers in the United Kingdom because they did not fit in within its asset management and asset gathering strategy.

It also sold six smaller affiliates in the United States. Each of its businesses, it says, faces 2003 with some confidence.

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