British bank, Barclays has confirmed it will be selling its stake in Barclays Africa.
The UK bank has a 62.3 percent share in the African operation. Speculation has been rife for some time that it had wanted out. On Tuesday a statement was made by Barclays confirming the speculations.
“We are today announcing our intention to sell down our 62.3-percent interest in our African business, BAGL, over the coming two to three years,” Barclays said in a statement and revealed annual losses after tax of £394 million ($549 million, 505 million euros) for the bank as a whole.
Barclays took this step in a bold move to refocus the bank on its core UK and US markets.
Barclays has had operations in parts of Africa for almost a century. Barclays Africa Group Limited, which includes the South African branch network Absa, is one of the largest banks on the continent, with a R991bn balance sheet. It has 45,000 employees — a third of all Barclays staff — and 1,267 branches across 12 countries, including Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Uganda.
In 2005, Barclays bought Absa, South Africa’s bank, after it was forced to pull out during the apartheid era. In 2013, Barclays merged its Africa operations with Absa. The goal was to allow expansion of pan-African corporate banking and bancassurance, a bank/insurance company partnership.
Barclays has been operating in the Africa markets for nearly a now, as a major player in the continent.