Against the report last week which stated that the well-known London-based Barclays bank is set to sell its African operations this week and possibly leave the African continent for good, Absa, on Monday, reiterated that it has no plans of going for sale as it is still “committed to Africa”
The bank said it would continue to “be optimistic about our growth prospects‚ and to operate in the normal course of business”.
The bank was reported to have concluded to finally pull out its operations like the Absa Group as part of its plans to focus on US and UK markets and is expected to be announced on Tuesday when Barclays PLC and Barclays Africa Group Limited announce their 2015 financial results. The group currently holds a 62.3% stake in the African group which serves as its foothold onto the continent.
Reacting to the said sale of the bank, Maria Ramos‚ Barclays Africa Group Chief Executive said the bank is still at its best in serving its over 12 million customers in the 12 countries across Africa and that the customers need not to worry about their range of products and services.
“With an independent board and a separate listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange we are deeply rooted in Africa and remain firmly in control of our future.”
“We continue to be optimistic about our prospects in Africa‚ where we have a strong franchise with assets of over R1-trillion. We are deeply committed to the success of our continent. Our destiny is in Africa‚” Ramos said.
According to Financial Times report, Barclays owns 62.3% of Barclays Africa, a stake valued at about R76.5-billion, based on a market capitalization of R122.8-billion on Friday. This means that its 62.3% stake which is worth £3.5bn, will depend on numerous important factors which include market conditions and the response of regulators.
Though some investment bankers pointed out that no strategic buyers for the African business, it has been reported that the value of the stake has fallen in the recent months thereby making it less interesting for the investors.
The Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which manages about R1.5-trillion in assets on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund had pointed out last month that it was keen to increase its stake in Barclays Africa if the group’s parent in London sells down.
PIC’s CEO Daniel Matjila expressed interest by saying that it would be an opportunity for them to reclaim the banking asset from British control.”it would be “an opportunity to reclaim what we sold”, and that the PIC “would be keen to participate” in a deal if it was put on the table.
Absa happens to be one of the largest banks in Africa with 45,000 employees and 1,267 branches across 12 countries, including Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Uganda.
When Barclays increased its stake in Barclays Africa Group to 62.3% from 55% in an R18-billion deal, Absa bought eight of Barclays’ African operations to form the Barclays Africa Group.