Absa to pay R18.33-billion for Barclays Africa operations

Absa bank and Barclays will be one entity by the middle of 2013. (Gallo)

Absa bank and Barclays will be one entity by the middle of 2013. (Gallo)

Absa Group is to buy the African operations of its parent Barclays for R18.33-billion, and will change its name to Barclays Africa Group.

It will retain the Absa brand for its retail and card business in South Africa, however.

The deal, pending shareholder and regulatory approvals, is expected to go through by the middle of next year.

Absa, listed on the JSE as ASA, and most of Barclays Bank PLC's Africa operations will have become one entity at that point.

Absa Group is to issue 129-million shares to Barclays, pushing up Barclays' stake in Absa from 55.5% to 62.2%, and giving the parent bank an even tighter hold on Absa.

The banks, in a joint statement, said the new venture covers operations in Botswana (67.8%), Ghana (100%), Kenya (68.5%), Mauritius (100%), Seychelles (99.8%), Tanzania (100%), Uganda (100%) and Zambia (100%), as well as the Barclays Africa regional office in Johannesburg (100%). Not included in the transaction are the Barclays operations in Egypt and Zimbabwe.

Absa will continue to own 100% of Absa Bank Limited, 95.8% of Barclays Bank of Mozambique and 55% of the National Bank of Commerce in Tanzania.

While the statement said the board of the current Absa Group Limited would be "reconstituted" to reflect the enlarged portfolio and pan-African scope of the business, they did not suggest any changes to management, emphasising that each business within the portfolio is led by an experienced management team and board of directors in the specific country.


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