8 February 2013

Kenya: Barclays Awaits Approval of CBK to Merge With Absa

BARCLAYS Bank of Kenya's transfer to South African bank Absa now awaits the approval of the Central Bank of Kenya aftter the Capital Markets Authority authorised the transaction.

A statement from CMA said the authority has granted approval to Barclays Bank of Kenya Ltd to transfer 3.7 billion of its shares held by Barclays Bank Plc to Barclays Africa Ltd.

This follows the reorganisation of the bank's business in Africa. This represents 68.5 per cent shareholding by Barclays Bank Plc in Barclays Bank of Kenya Ltd.

"Consequently, implementation of the private transfer of the securities will result in Barclays Africa Limited's direct shareholding being 68.5 per cent of the issued share capital of Barclays Kenya," CMA said in a statement.

The authority noted that the transfer reinforces the 'One Bank in Africa' strategy as the bank continues to pursue its announced strategy of combining the majority of Barclays Africa operation with those of its subsidiary Absa Group Limited where Barclays Bank PLC will remain as the majority shareholder of the combined African operations.

The two banks have said in the past that the listings of Barclays Bank Kenya on the Nairobi Securities Exchange will not be affected since only the shares held by Barclays Plc will be transferred in the proposed combination.

"The proposed combination will not impact the number of shares held by the minorities in Barclays Bank Kenya Limited and Barclays Bank Botswana Limited," a statement issued earlier said. Barclays Bank Kenya is owned 27.5 per cent by the public through the NSE.

The Sh178.5 billion ($2.1 billion) deal will see Absa Group acquire a majority stake in Barclays Africa Limited thereby increasing Barclays stake in Absa from 55.5 per cent to 62.3 per cent.

The combination will affect Barclays ownership interests in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, as well as the Barclays Africa regional office in Johannesburg. The proposed transaction excludes Barclays operations in Egypt and Zimbabwe, the statement added.

This combination will create the largest bank in Africa by number of branches, with a network of more than 1,300 outlets across ten countries.

Barclays said combining the businesses would help increase growth opportunities in Africa where Absa has been slow to capitalise on Barclays' wide presence on the continent, trailing fast-moving rival Standard Bank.

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