The title Absa Group ceased to exist last week after being substituted by Barclays Africa Group. This comes as the London based financial services giant, Barclays, tightens its grip around South Africa’s largest banking operation and on other African interests.
In an announcement released on Friday Barclays celebrated the debut of the title, Barclays Africa Group, on the JSE. The company said the move marks a milestone in South African corporate history.
This follows the conclusion of transaction where Barclays increased its stake in Absa Group. This was achieved through the injection into the JSE listed Absa Group various Barclay’s African interests.
Barclays said, “The now pan-African group has concluded the largest acquisition by a bank in Africa, almost two months ahead of deadline. The R18.3 billion acquisition of Barclays’ African businesses gives stakeholders access to markets with robust growth and positions the group to seize opportunities in Africa”.
Wendy Lucas-Bull, Chairman of Barclays Africa Group, said “This is a tremendously exciting and significant moment for Absa and Barclays. For Absa, it opens the door to improving our long-term growth prospects. This is also a big deal for Barclays. Everybody wants a piece of the continent. Barclays understands that Africa offers great opportunity which is why it is one of its core pillars of future growth.”
Barclays Chief Executive Antony Jenkins recently underscored the importance of Africa to the group, pointing out that it is the group’s largest region after the UK and US, contributing greater than 10% of Barclays’ first half profit before tax. In our final set of results as the Absa Group earlier this week, we indicated that if we included the enlarged Barclays Africa portfolio, this would have added 19% or R874 million to our first half earnings.
Lucas-Bull adds: “I see the deal as a major vote of confidence in Maria Ramos and her executive team. The deal signifies that Barclays has entrusted a core pillar of its growth strategy to Ms Ramos and her team, who have been tasked with running and delivering the Africa opportunity on behalf of the group.”