Information that has surfaced online from the Financial Times points towards Barclays Bank PLC soon making an announcement that they are pulling out of Africa so as to focus on their core US and UK markets.
Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins was ousted in July with Chairman John McFarlane running the London-based bank until Jes Staley took over on Dec. 1. Staley has not made it a secret of wanting out of what was looking to be their most promising growth market.
UPDATE: Information pertaining to the shareholding structure of Barclays Africa and its separation to Egypt and Zimbabwe has been explained below.
As it stands, Barclays bank PLC owns 62.3% of Barclays Africa, which subsequently owns entities in 10 countries. The London-headquartered bank also owns operations in Egypt and Zimbabwe, separately from Barclays Africa and efforts to offload those two properties to Barclays Africa last year failed. From the Financial Times article, Barclays will most likely be selling off Barclays Africa and the most logical thing to do would be to get rid of Egypt and Zimbabwe too.
This selloff, if they find the right suitors that are willing to pay the right price, will highly likely see a change of name in Zimbabwe and for the UK bank washing its hands off Africa, where they’ve been over 100 years.
The Zimbabwe operation rationalised its support structures and foot print in line with business levels obtaining which resulted in reduction in full-time employees from a peak of 1,423 in January 2008 to around 700 currently. It closed and merged 3 of its branches in 2011, an action that a number of local banks have taken, after the introduction of a multi-currency regime.
Barclays opened it’s doors in Zimbabwe over 100 years ago, in 1912, and at its peak had 43 branches spanning all over the country, mainly targeting and servicing communal farmers.
A comment has been sought from both Barclays Zimbabwe and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, as to what the pull out (if at all it will happen) of a 68% shareholder means.