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Barclays sells £2.2bn stake in African subsidiary

Barclays has sold a bigger-than-expected £2.2 billion stake in its Africa banking arm as it pushes ahead with a restructure to focus more on the UK and US.

The banking giant confirmed it had sold a 34% slice of Barclays Africa - greater than the 22% that was anticipated - after gaining regulatory approval for the disposal from the South African government.

The lender said it had offloaded 286 million shares in Barclays Africa, taking its overall stake from 50% to 16%.

The move means Barclays has achieved its goal of "deconsolidating" the Africa business from its accounts. The company added the decision to sell a bigger stake was "due to strong investor demand".

Chief executive Jes Staley said the sale of its Johannesburg-listed subsidiary was "a key milestone in the execution of our strategy and the restructuring of Barclays".

Barclays Africa - which includes the South African branch network Absa - was created in 2013 when 12 banks across the continent were brought together.

It has 12 million customers across 12 countries including South Africa, Kenya and Botswana.

But Barclays announced last year it would begin reducing its 62.3% stake in Barclays Africa in a bid to sell down or dispose of its hinterland operations as quickly as possible and concentrate on its core British and US businesses.

The overhaul has also seen it offload its risk analytics and index unit to Bloomberg and sell its wealth and investment management arm in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Barclays is expected to use some of the funds raised from the sale to bolster its capital position. This follows a "stress test" by the Bank of England last November, designed to gauge lenders' abilities to withstand financial shocks, which found the group had "some capital inadequacies".

The group said the overall cost of the sale will result in an estimated loss of £1.2 billion.

Shares in Barclays slipped nearly 1% after the stake sale.

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