Belfast Telegraph

Barclays sells 12.2% stake in Barclays Africa Group

Banking giant Barclays is selling shares worth 12.2% of Barclays Africa Group as it moves to drive down its stake in the lender.

The bank said it is selling 103.6 million shares, with South African state pension fund Public Investment Corporation (SOC) taking up to 10.3 million.

It added that it has received interest from "numerous potential investors" since it announced its intent to sell-down its stake in March.

Chief executive Jes Staley said the sale is an "important first step" as it looks to reduce its 62% shareholding in the African lender.

He added: " As we said at our Q1 results, we continue to explore opportunities to reduce our shareholding, including capital market and strategic options.

"Barclays Africa is an important partner and we are working closely with local management, including planning for the operational separation of the two businesses in a way that will preserve value for shareholders in both the Barclays and Barclays Africa groups."

Mr Staley is looking to sell-off Barclays' non-core businesses and reduce its stake in Barclays Africa in a bid to bolster its financial performance.

He said at the bank's annual general meeting last Thursday that t he decision to sell-down the African business was a ''regret'' but ''necessary''.

He added: ''We are faced with a situation where we shoulder 100% of the financial burden - including significantly increased capital and regulatory requirements over the past few years - but where we only receive 62% of the benefits.

''We therefore need to make the hard choice to sell-down our stake, and thereby release the benefits to the wider group, such as freeing up capital and reducing our UK bank levy payments.''

Barclays revealed in its first quarter results last Wednesday that profits tumbled after it was hit by tough trading in its investment banking arm.

The group posted first quarter pre-tax profits of £793 million, down from £1.1 billion a year earlier, as underlying profits in its corporate and investment banking business dropped 31%.