A challenging consumer environment, lower investment returns and a decline in earnings from Stanlib were the main drivers behind Liberty’s 38.8% slide in normalised headline earnings for the year to end-December 2016. Normalised headline earnings of R2.5bn, represented a 37% drop in operating earnings on the previous comparable period and a 42% decline in earnings from the shareholder investment portfolio, which was hit by weak equity markets, Liberty said. Headline earnings from the group’s South African retail operations of R1.1bn were 40% behind the year-earlier period. The high value of policy surrenders and maturities drove net customer cash inflows in that business 70% lower to R1.9bn. These were attributable to the challenging consumer environment, Liberty said. In its corporate business, earnings fell 13% to R191m. Net cash outflows of R751m (2015: R891m) reflected low single premium new business and high risk claims linked to the challenging economic environment and associa...

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