Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Barclays bank shares soar despite Chief Operational Officer departure

Despite the controversy surrounding the sudden departure of its Chief Operational Officer, Pele Moleta, the share price of one of the top four banks in the country, Barclays Bank Botswana was this week cruising alongside other companies in the upside territory of the Botswana Stock Exchange domestic board.

Figures from the capital markets shows that the bank was this week cruising on the upside, despite the challenging operational environment which include the internal bickering fighting at the Central Business District (CBD) based company.

The latest weekly trading figures from the local bourse show that the bank led the rally this week, pocketing 1.1 percent to trade at new highest price of 446thebe. The lowest share price for the bank in the last 12 months stood at 339 thebe while it’s highest before this past Friday was 442 thebe.

News of the departure of Moleta, who joined the bank less than six months ago from BotswanaPost first surfaced over the weekend with allegations that the former BotswanaPost Chief Executive and the current managing director of the bank, Reinette Van Der Merwe have already had a fall-out. Moleta was at some point, atleast at the time of appointment believed to be the ultimate successor to Van der Merwe who arrived at the Barclays House in November 2013. The appointment was in line with the general policy to localise most top management posts including that of managing director.

INTERNAL BICKERING

Hardly a year after she came to Botswana to take over the reins as head of Botswana’s largest bank, Der Merwe found herself battling to parry lawsuits and allegations of unfair labour practices. Even before she could settle into her new role as Barclays MD, acclimatise herself with Botswana and make new friends, Van de Merwe made enemies, after being hauled before the courts on allegations that she employed a number of expatriates without work and residence permits.

In what looks like a clash between two top managers at Barclays, the then bank’s Senior Regional Relations Director, Seseti Mogami approached the High Court seeking an order that Van der Merwe should be prosecuted by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for breaching the country’s labour laws by allegedly employing a considerable number of non-citizens without work permits. Barclays Bank Botswana was cited as the first respondent while Van der Merwe was the second respondent. Mogami stated that from the time Van der Merwe was employed by Barclays, she has continuously employed non-citizens to work for the bank without work permits as stipulated in the Immigration Act.

At that time, the country’s second largest bank by advances, Barclays Bank Botswana, continued to recoup some of its 2012/13 losses. This was after the BSE quoted Bank struggled at the capital markets for almost a year, a development that saw its market value at the stock exchange going down by close to 30 percent. Still in 2013, the bank failed to meet expectations after realising a 34 percent decline in profit after tax (PAT) during the reporting season. However, fresh figures from the local bourse indicate that the British retail bank has since rebounded with 29.3 percent YTD change. By the last clock at BSE on Friday the Barclays share price stood at 446 thebe per share, the highest in 12 months.

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