BARCLAYS has sold a 12.2 percent stake in the Barclays Africa Group for R13.05 billion or about $882 million.
The British bank is cutting its 62.3 percent stake in the African business to free itself from regulatory and capital requirements that have dragged on its balance sheet.
Barclays, which has operated in Africa for more than a century, said on Wednesday that it would make its first sale of its stake in the African business after announcing plans in March to do so. The bank would like to reduce its holdings to below a controlling level, or to sell the stake entirely.
On Thursday, Barclays said in a news release that it had sold 103.6 million shares of Barclays Africa at a price of 126 rand a share.
The statement did not give details on who had bought the shares, but the bank said on Wednesday that the shares would be sold in a private offering to institutional investors. It added that the Public Investment Corporation, an investment manager owned by the South African government, had agreed to buy up to 10.3 million shares, or about 1.2 percent of Barclays Africa.
Barclays now owns 50.1 percent of the African business.
Barclays Africa is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and holds majority stakes in banks in 10 countries, with offices in two others. The business’s biggest profit driver is South Africa.
The African business was considered one of four pillars of Barclays’ strategy, alongside its credit card and its consumer and investment banking operations, under Antony Jenkins, who was ousted as chief executive in July.
But Barclays’ new management no longer sees it as a core business because of the regulatory and capital requirements associated with holding a controlling stake, even while not fully owning the business.
Under James E. Staley, who joined Barclays as chief executive in December, the bank is accelerating the sale of businesses it does not consider core operations, and it is focusing its strategy around two divisions: the British consumer bank, and the corporate and investment bank. – NY Times