HARARE, March 28 (The Source) – Barclays Bank Plc is in exclusive talks to sell its stake in its Zimbabwe unit to Malawi-based First Merchant Bank, officials said on Tuesday as it continues its exit from Africa.
FMB confirmed the talks to buy Barclays’ 68 percent controlling stake in Barclays Bank Zimbabwe in a cautionary statement on its website. Neither Barclays nor FMB disclosed the value of the transaction but Barclays Bank Zimbabwe has a $60 million capitalisation on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
“FMB is engaged in exclusive discussions with Barclays Bank PLC (“BB PLC”), in relation to the potential acquisition of its interests in Barclays Bank Zimbabwe Limited (“BBZ”),” FMB secretary Oswald Mtokale said in a statement.
“Discussions with BB PLC are ongoing and may or may not result in the announcement of a transaction involving the acquisition by FMBCH of the interest of BB PLC in BBZ.”
Barclays Bank Plc last year said it was looking to sell-off its African assets to focus on the British and American markets.
The Zimbabwe unit, along with the Egyptian business, was not part of the 2013 deal that saw Barclays Africa, formerly ABSA, acquire eight African operations from its parent company because of political uncertainty, although it already manages their operations.
Other major shareholders of Barclays Bank Zimbabwe include Old Mutual Life Assurance Company and FED nominees which own 3,44 percent and 2,45 percent respectively.
Mtokale said the transaction would be subject to the approval of regulators in Malawi and Zimbabwe.