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Barclays to sell slice of African operation

By Ben Woods

Barclays plans to sell a £1.5bn slice of its Africa banking arm as it continues to overhaul the business in order to focus on its UK and US operations.

The banking giant is selling around 22% of Barclays Africa Group (BAGL) after winning regulatory clearance for the disposal from the South African government.

In a statement, the lender said it would shed 187 million ordinary shares in BAGL, driving down its stake from 50% to around 28%.

Barclays is looking to hold on to a 15% stake in the African bank.

Chief executive Jes Staley said the move was a "key milestone" in his quest to restructure Barclays.

He 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."

BAGL - 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.

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