JSE-listed Sanlam has been given permission to buy a majority stake in Catalyst Fund Managers, a Cape Town-based company that manages listed property investments for institutional and retail clients.

Sanlam said in September the deal would help its investments unit to diversify and strengthen its asset management capabilities. It did not disclose the value of the acquisition.

“It provides Sanlam Investments with the opportunity to partner with a credible and well-respected business which has a compelling product offering,” Sanlam said at the time.

The Competition Commission said on Tuesday it had approved the deal without conditions, meaning that Sanlam Investment Holdings can go ahead with its acquisition of a 69% stake in Catalyst. The commission said the deal was unlikely to reduce competition or the number of jobs in the industry.

Founded in 2001, Catalyst originally focused on managing SA-listed property portfolios. In 2007, it started managing global portfolios.

“Catalyst Fund Managers executive management and staff support the change in shareholding,” said Michael Arbuthnot, CEO of Catalyst.

Sanlam Investments CEO Nersan Naidoo said Catalyst would “provide our clients with a compelling asset class as we search for alternative sources of performance”.

The local listed real estate market has struggled so far in 2018, with the SA listed property index falling more than a quarter so far in 2018.

Sanlam Investment Management said it would also acquire a 100% stake in an Irish business, CIG Fund Management Company, “to complement the Sanlam group’s international investment management platform, Sanlam Asset Management Ireland”, Sanlam said.

Sanlam Asset Management Ireland manages funds domiciled in Ireland. That transaction is subject to certain conditions, including Irish regulatory approvals.