15 Jun

Barclays to surrender control of Africa unit with £1.6bn sale

Barclays has been given regulatory approval for the sale of its remaining stake in its Barclays Africa Group, according to a unit of the business.

South Africa‘s finance minister has approved the deal, ABSA Bank said, and this will allow Barclays to begin selling its remaining 50% stake in Barclays Africa Group (BAGL).

ABSA Bank, based in Johannesburg, is the main business inside Barclays Africa Group.

Barclays Bank Egypt and Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe, which sit outside Barclays Africa Group, will also be sold.

Barclays chief executive Jes Staley said: “Regulatory approval for the separation of Barclays and Barclays Africa is an important step forward and allows us to move closer to our goal of reducing our shareholding in Barclays Africa to the point where we can achieve regulatory deconsolidation.

“It represents a key milestone in the execution of our strategy and the restructuring of Barclays.”

Barclays shares had risen as much as 2.5% in London on Wednesday, after Sky News reported Barclays was drawing up plans to reduce its shareholding in Barclays Africa Group Limited.

The bank has confirmed its target long-term shareholding in BAGL is around 15%.

A large minority chunk of the shares on offer – around 7% – will be acquired by South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation, the African continent’s biggest pension fund manager, according to insiders.

It is understood the share sale is being handled by investment bankers at Barclays, Citi and Deutsche Bank.

If successfully completed, the sale will go some distance towards Barclays’ eventual objective of reducing its stake in BAGL to below 20%, which will allow the London-based bank to deconsolidate the African business from its balance sheet.

Read more: Barclays to surrender control of Africa unit with £1.6bn sale