Barclays cut its stake in Barclays Africa Group to 15 percent sooner than expected on Thursday, ending more than 90 years as a major presence in the continent. As Ivor Bennett reports, it's all part of the company's push to focus more on Britain and the U.S..
Barclays has had a presence in Africa for nearly 100 years. but the decision to withdraw from the continent seems to be one investors have now got used to. Barclays shares rising 3 percent on news it had reached the next phase of the exit plan with a share sale worth 1.5 billion pounds. SOUNDBITE (English) NEIL WILSON, SENIOR MARKET ANALYST, ETX CAPITAL, SAYING: "I think really broadly speaking probably investors are going to welcome maybe sort of focussing on the core a bit more by Barclays and exiting Africa as part of a broader strategy to pare back costs and exposure in certain markets." The funds will also help meet certain capital requirements set by the Bank of England They were identified as a concern in a stress test last year. Barclays first announced the exit strategy from Africa in March 2016, giving itself 2 to 3 years to complete the sale. There were concerns it may struggle, with regulatory delays and political upheaval in its key market South Africa. But this latest sale keeps them on course. Further reducing their 62.3 percent stake to 28 percent, with a final target of 15 percent.