Absa, South Africa’s biggest retail bank, will acquire African assets of Barclays, its parent company, for R18.3 billion ($2.1 billion), it was announced yesterday.

This deal brings to a conclusion a longstanding Absa plan to combine its parent company’s African operations.

The move will certainly put Absa’s African strategy into pole position. Its strategy had been lagging behind its main South African competitors like Standard Bank, Nedbank and First Rand.

Currently, Standard Bank is the leader in Africa with operations in 18 African countries.

Because of this deal, Barclays will raise its stake in Absa to 62.3 percent from 55.5 percent now, giving it an even tighter hold on South Africa’s third-largest bank by value.

The banks said in a joint statement the incorporation of Barclays African operations would lead to a management shake-up at Absa, which would be renamed Barclays Africa Group.

The deal covers Barclays’ operations in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia and the Barclays Africa Regional Office.

Absa will retain its brand for its retail and card business in South Africa


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