, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 1 – Barclays PLC has announced that it will reduce its interest in Barclays Africa Group to a non-controlling stake in the next two to three years.
Barclays PLC Chief Executive Jes Staley says the move will be done subject to required shareholder and regulatory approvals.
Barclays PLC has a 62.3 percent stake in Barclays Africa, which is valued at Sh492 billion.
The firm had stated that Africa was becoming a costly distraction owing to the devaluation of the South African Rand, and extra risks of corruption and misconduct in Africa which would tarnish the entire African operation if something was to go wrong.
The firm now wants to refocus on its core United Kingdom and United States markets.
Meanwhile, Barclays Africa has assured the market that business will run as usual despite the announcement.
Barclays Africa Group Chief Executive Officer Maria Ramos on Monday said the bank will continue to offer a full and integrated range of products and services to more than 12 million customers in 12 countries across Africa urging customers to be confident in doing business with them.
“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,” Ramos says.
Barclays Africa Group’s registered head office is in Johannesburg, South Africa and has majority stakes in banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania (Barclays Bank Tanzania and National Bank of Commerce), Uganda and Zambia.
“We continue to be optimistic about our prospects in Africa, where we have a strong franchise with assets of over R1 trillion (Sh6.4 trillion). We are deeply committed to the success of our continent. Our destiny is in Africa,” Ramos added.
Barclays Bank of Kenya was also not left behind in reassuring the market that there are no plans of shutting down.
“Barclays Bank of Kenya is not shutting down. I reiterate, Barclays Bank of Kenya is not shutting down and there are no plans at Local, Regional or Group level to shut down our operations here any decisions concerning the operations of Barclays Kenya can only be made by Barclays Africa Group Limited in consultation with other investors who are shareholders in this business,” said Barclays Kenya Chief Executive Jeremy Awori.
Barclays Africa reported 10 percent increase in headline earnings to R14.3 billion (Sh92 billion) for the year ended 31 December 2015.
This was attributable to increased income and cost containment.
Return on equity improved to 17 percent during the period under review, the highest level since 2008.
Barclays Africa is now top three by revenue in four of our five largest markets that includes South Africa, Botswana, Ghana and Zambia.