'We haven't yet felt real impact of 3rd wave' - Liberty tops up Covid reserves

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Paula Luckhoff

81 days ago
'We haven't yet felt real impact of 3rd wave' - Liberty tops up Covid reserves A YouTube screengrab shows Liberty CEO David Munro who addressed the media on 17 June 2018, after Liberty Group's system was hacked.

Liberty Holdings has posted its results for the year ended 30 June 2021, after having to up its Covid-19 reserves by another billion rand.

It reported a headline profit of R222 million, compared to a loss of almost R2.3 billion during the same period in 2020.

At the same time Libery reported a 61.4% increase in total death and disability claims paid out compared to the first six months of 2020, largely due to Covid-19.

This amounted to R8.5 billion.

Normalised headline earnings for the six-month period were at R288 million, compared to a normalised headline loss of R2 173 million in the prior period.

No interim dividend was declared.

Bruce Whitfield interviews David Munro, CEO of Liberty Holdings.

The top-up of our pandemic reserve is what we call prospective. It looks forward and we haven't yet as Liberty, and as the industry, really felt the impact of the third wave.

David Munro, CEO - Liberty Holdings

We've seen the spike in infections and we've started to see the very elevated mortality that will follow, but that will take time to work its way through the system.

David Munro, CEO - Liberty Holdings

Our pandemic reserve following the top-up stands at about R1.5 billion. Based on the information and models that we have, we think that will get us through the third and fourth waves and that should then really seal the fate of the pandemic.

David Munro, CEO - Liberty Holdings

The critical factor, he says, is the potential impact of the vaccination programme.

Liberty sees the current acceleration of vaccination in South Africa as "very positive".

One has to think quite deeply about how positive and powerful the vaccination can be and whether it's been made available to everybody.

David Munro, CEO - Liberty Holdings

The pandemic is really a 1-in-100 year event... We had to take R3 billion for the pandemic last year and we've taken a billion again this year... but if you look at our capital ratio, we're still very strong.

David Munro, CEO - Liberty Holdings

Munro also comments on the Standard Bank Group's proposal to buy 100% of Liberty and integrate it more closely into the greater group.

He says a circular for shareholders should be issued within the next six weeks, with the deal probably going through in the first quarter of 2022.

Listen to the interview with the Liberty CEO below:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'We haven't yet felt real impact of 3rd wave' - Liberty tops up Covid reserves

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