Shareholders warned as Barclays 'prepares' African exit

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Shareholders have been warned to “exercise caution” when dealing with Barclays Africa Group Limited (BAGL) shares, following reports that the company’s controlling shareholder, Barclays, is planning to sell its stake.

The Financial Times broke news of the expected sell-off by Barclays, of its 62% stake in BAGL, on Friday.

Quoting “people familiar with the matter”, the report said Barclays chief executive Jes Staley would announce the company’s exit from the African market on Tuesday.

Barclays neither confirmed nor denied the report, saying: “The board continues to evaluate its strategic options in relation to its BAGL shareholding, and expects to update the market at the time of its 2015 full year results announcement on 1 March 2016.”

Responding to this statement, BAGL, which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, said: “Consequently, BAGL shareholders are advised to exercise caution when dealing in BAGL shares.”

Along with South Africa, BAGL has subsidiary operations in Kenya, Botswana, Ghana, Zambia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Uganda and Tanzania. The company said the expected sell-of would not affect the ownership of BAGL subsidiaries.

Exit ‘depends on market conditions’

The Financial Times report said responsibility for the expected sale would be handed to a subcomittee, who would examine market conditions. One roadblock, it said, could be that there are no obvious strategic buyers for the 78bn rand (£3.5bn) stake in the company.

At 14:45 on Monday, Johannesburg time, the BAGL share price was down 2.3%, having recovered some of the losses it sustained earlier in the day.

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