Friday, July 30, 2021

Powerful PIC buys chunk of Barclays Africa Group

South Africa’s powerful state owned pension fund manager, Public Investment Corporation (PIC) is tipped to increase its shareholding of the Barclays Africa Group to at least 14 percent.

On Wednesday, Barclays PLC sold 285 691 979 Barclays Africa ordinary shares at a price of R132 per share, which results in reducing its shareholding to 23.4 percent.

Barclays Bank Africa Group CEO Maria Ramos, who briefed financial journalists across Africa through a conference call this week, indicated that PIC has agreed to buy shares representing 7 percent of BAGL in the offering on top of its existing 7 percent stake ÔÇö making it the second largest shareholder in the bank.

Barclays PLC plans to reduce its interest in Barclays Africa Group to a non-controlling stake in the next two to three years with 33.7 percent already sold.

Following the announcement of the pull-out of the Africa market by Barclays PLC early last year, South Africa’s PIC which currently owns 14 percent is said to have sought approval from South Africa’s central bank to raise its stake in Barclays Africa.

The PIC, which manages funds on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund, owns the equivalent of about 12 per cent of the market capitalisation of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, but rarely takes controlling stakes in companies.

Meanwhile, Barclays Africa Group Limited Deputy Chief Executive Officer responsible for the rest of Africa business, Peter Matlare, said recently that the sell down process which started in March 2016 marked the “evolution as a stand-alone pan African financial services group, committed to Africa”.

At the same time, whilst a decision to change names has not been made yet, the move by Barclays PLC to sell the majority of its shares could see the bank getting some new identity within the next two to three years.

This would mean Barclays Bank Botswana could be one of the affected by the possible changes. A change in name is expected to happen shortly after a regulatory deconsolidation.

However, Ramos said on Wednesday that: “That name is not going to disappear overnight. We are thinking very carefully about how to make the transition. Our marketing team is conducting extensive research into the future of our brand.”

According to Ramos, independence from Barclays PLC will create several opportunities, which will ultimately result in benefits for different stakeholders,

“This is a very exciting time for Barclays Africa. There is an opportunity for increased African ownership of our business through a planned staff share scheme as well as a broad-based black empowerment scheme that will contribute to the growth of an entrepreneurial culture”.

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