HomeBusiness DigestTwo years to merge Barclays/Absa

Two years to merge Barclays/Absa

Roadwin Chirara


ZIMBABWEAN operations of Barclays Bank among others in Africa will be incorporated into the merged operations of Barclays plc and Amalgamated Bank of South Africa (Absa) with

in the next two years.


Although the incorporation of the banking operations is still subject to regulatory approval of the various countries, a time frame of two years has been set to conclude the process.


Both Absa and Barclays have prioritised the merger of their largest retail market, South Africa, followed by the rest of Africa in the medium term.


Barclays plc successfully acquired 53,96 % of the Absa group of South Africa in a R30 billion deal earlier this year.


The transaction was finalised this month.


The acquisition, which has been labelled the largest single direct foreign investment in Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner, comes after British firm, Barclays had to battle resistance from Absa’s shareholders who argued the offer price was too low.


Due to shareholder resistance, Barclays was forced to limit its stake in Absa to 53% from the initial target of around 80%.


David Roberts, chief executive of Barclays International retail and commercial banking, on Wednesday announced the completion of the deal.


“Overall, the transaction is a testament to South Africa’s progress over the past 11 years and the potential Barclays and Absa see in Africa as a whole,” Roberts said.


Absa was formed when Allied, United and Volkskas banks merged in 1991 and was joined by Bankorp — including Trust Bank and Bankfin — in 1992 to form Amalgamated Banks of South Africa.


Absa recently acquired a 50% stake in Angola’s Banco Commercial Angolano.


The group is understood to be in talks to acquire a controlling stake in newly merged banks in Nigeria, and interested in a stake in Zambia National Commercial Bank, which has been placed on the market by the Privatisation Agency of Zambia.


Besides Africa, Absa has international operations in London, Germany, Hong Kong and Singapore, which may be integrated into Barclays.


Absa is the largest shareholder in Jewel bank, with a 25,75 % stake.

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