The Barclays logo sits on display outside its offices in Johannesburg.PHOTO:BLOOMBERG NEWS
Barclays previously said that it intends to cut its 62% stake in Barclays Africa.
London—Barclays PLC said Wednesday that it will sell a 12.2% stake in its African unit to an array of investors, as the British bank pushes ahead with its retreat from the continent.
In a statement the bank said that South Africa’s state pension fund, the Public Investment Corporation SOC Limited, has agreed to buy up to 1.2% of Barclays Africa Group Ltd. shares. The rest of the 103.6 million shares will be sold to investors preapproved by the South African regulator, with a price set overnight. The sale should raise around £700 million for the British bank.
Barclays previously said that it intends to cut its 62% stake in Barclays Africa over the next two or three years. If this share sale goes ahead as planned then its stake will be reduced to just above 50%.”This is an important first step,” Barclays Chief Executive Jes Staley said in a statement.
Last week Bob Diamond, Barclays’s former chief executive, saidhe was putting together a bid for Barclays’s entire stakein Barclays Africa, with funding lined up from U.S. buyout firm Carlyle Group and other investors including several sovereign-wealth funds. They plan to buy the stake, and then potentially combine Barclays Africa with Atlas Mara Ltd., the small African banking group Mr. Diamond co-founded in 2013.
The consortium of investors has finished raising funding and will bid for the remaining 50.1% share of Barclays Africa, a person familiar with the situation said. They haven’t yet made an offer to Barclays.
Mr. Diamond and his business partner, Ashish J. Thakkar were in Johannesburg Wednesday and met with South African regulators and other local stakeholders, the person said.
Barclays is shedding its African business as regulatory pressure ramps up and the bank’s management looks to free up resources to invest in other parts of its franchise.
Because of Barclays’s size, regulators make the bank hold £650 million ($927 million) of extra capital against its Africa unit. A smaller, less-risky bank wouldn’t have to do this. Barclays also estimates that a U.K. tax on bank balance sheets means it would pay an extra £200 million in levies by 2021 to keep its African unit on the books.