Barclays to revamp African operations

British banking giant Barclays Bank Plc said yesterday that it is in talks with its South African subsidiary Absa Group Ltd (Absa) for combining the majority of the bank's Africa operations with Absa, aiming to enhance its growth opportunities in the region.

London-based Barclays holds a 55.5-per cent stake in Absa Group, one of the largest four banking groups in South Africa.

The combination will involve Barclays' interests in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and the Indian Ocean with Absa, with Barclay's remaining the majority stakeholder in the African operations, the bank said in a statement.

Although Barclays' majority-owned businesses in Botswana and Kenya are included in the plan, they would retain their individual stock market listings in both the countries.

The Egyptian and Zimbabwean units are not planned to be part of the combination at present. ''They are both facing quite significant challenges at the moment,'' Barclays said.

Chief executive of Absa Group and Barclays Africa, Maria Ramos said, ''This proposed combination of the majority of the Barclays Africa businesses with Absa is the next logical step in delivering our 'One Africa' strategy, which Barclays announced last year.''