South Africa

Barclays sell its 7.4% stake in Absa

Barclays raised nearly R10.7 billion from the sale of its remaining stake in South African lender Absa Group, exiting an investment it made in 2005 and marking its second retreat from the region.

The London-based bank offered about 63 million ordinary shares, which is 7.4% of Absa’s issued share capital. According to a statement, the placement was priced at R169 a share, representing a 5.1% discount to Wednesday’s close.

Barclays has more than a century of sometimes stormy history in Africa. The bank withdrew from South Africa during apartheid protests in the 1980s, then had ambitions to become the pre-eminent bank in sub-Saharan Africa when it took a controlling stake in Johannesburg-based Absa in 2005.

However, the British firm beat a global retreat after the financial crisis and announced in 2016 that it would gradually sell its shares in Absa, which was renamed, Barclays Africa. In April, Barclays cut its holding in half.

Barclays still has an investment banking and private banking presence in South Africa. Citigroup and Morgan Stanley are among the co-bookrunners for the sale, alongside Barclays and Absa themselves.

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