Africa regulators approve Absa, Barclays Africa merger

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“We had started pulling together the two businesses operationally last year.  We closed down the Barclays Africa operations in Dubai and brought them to South Africa and this brings to conclusion the transaction,” Maria Ramos, Absa Chief Executive Officer (CEO) told CNBC Africa.

“We took it to shareholders in December and they voted overwhelmingly in favour of the transaction and here we are… We’ve looked at this as a significantly different transaction from the one that may have been contemplated eight years ago.”

Ramos said the financial institutions have already acquired regulatory approval to go ahead with the transaction.

Barclays will be in control of a 62.3 per cent stake of Barclays Africa Group Limited through the issue of 129.5 million ordinary shares by Absa, representing a value of approximately 18.3 billion rands.

Absa Group Limited is expected to change its name to Barclays Africa Group Limited on 2 August 2013. The South African branches will not embrace the takeover’s strong brand as their Absa trademark will continue to exist within the market. 

Brand transformation will be visible in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

“We’ve got a really good base in Africa Barclays’ been in Africa for over a hundred years. We’ve got some really good businesses across the continent and some really fast growing economies. What we’re going to be doing now is making sure that we can take advantage of the platform we currently have in Africa,” she added.

Absa on Monday said Barclays Bank Kenya Limited and Barclays Bank Botswana will maintain their respective stock exchanges.

Ramos said the financial institution is making strategic moves to expand its foothold in Africa, one of the fastest growing regions in the world.

“With Barclays in Africa we’ve got good solid businesses that have been there for very long time and we’re very local. We’re also very much part of a large global group so we can serve customers and clients both in Africa, across the world, global clients doing businesses in Africa, South Africa and African clients doing business regionally. We know that intraregional trade is also growing and we can take advantage of all of that,” he said.