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Barclays still keen to do business in Africa despite restructuring

Barclays Plc announced plans to sell down its 62.3 percent stake in Barclays Africa over the next three years.

Barclays logo. Picture: barclaysafrica.com
Barclays,Barclays Bank,Barclays Africa,Barclays Plc,Barclays Africa Group,Maria Ramos
Local Business World

JOHANNESBURG – Barclays Africa said it is still excited about its prospects across the continent despite an announcement that its majority shareholder will cut down its stake in African business.  
 
Yesterday, Barclays Plc announced plans to sell down its 62.3 percent stake in Barclays Africa over the next three years. 
 
The exit from Africa, which is the second in 30 years, will affect banks like Absa. 
 
Barclays Africa CEO Maria Ramos said the decision has mainly been influenced by global regulatory factors, which makes it difficult for the bank to own subsidiaries.
 
She said while changes are expected, the road ahead looks positive.

“We’ve made real progress in our business and we have an ambition to be so much more. And there have been some questions asked but I can also tell you we have 42,000 people across this business and they’re focused and they’re energised and this is a fantastic franchise.”

Barclays Africa said the decision is not influenced by any political factors in South Africa.

Ramos said the current environment makes it difficult for the bank to own subsidiaries.

“It has nothing to do with any conspiracy and nothing to do with the economic environment whether it’s in South Africa or anywhere across our continent. This decision has been driven by the regulatory environment and the regulatory bid.”

LISTEN: Maria Ramos on why Barclays is getting out of Africa

Barclay Chief Executive Jes Staley said Barclays was fundamentally on the right path.

"There is, of course, more we need to do and areas where I believe we can move much faster to deliver the high performing Group that Barclays can and should be.”

Barclays reported an adjusted pretax profit of £5.4 billion for the year ended 31 December, compared with £5.502 billion a year earlier and below the average forecast of £5.772 billion from a consensus of analysts’ forecasts.

In the few months since Staley’s appointment, Barclays has made sweeping cuts across its investment bank and exited several businesses including in Asia to trim costs, reduce risk and shore up its balance sheet.

The bank’s common equity tier one ratio, a key measure of financial strength, stood at 11,4 percent from 10,3 percent a year earlier, while its leverage ratio improved to 4,5 percent.

However, legacy conduct issues continued to hurt.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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