Abraaj interested in Barclays Africa
ABRAAJ Group, the private-equity firm that invests across emerging markets, was interested in Barclays Group’s African business, said Arif Naqvi, the chief executive.
“It’s a very fine bank run by a very fine management team, and if the opportunity were to re-present itself, we would certainly be one of those that would be at the table,” Naqvi said in an interview at the World Economic Forum yesterday. The two companies were not in talks, he said.
Naqvi’s comments might signal renewed interest in bidding for a chunk of Barclays’ remaining 50.1 percent stake in the unit after the bank said last March that it planned to sell down its 62percent stake over two to three years. Abraaj and a group of investors had planned to bid for a minority stake in Barclays Africa, sources with knowledge of the discussions said last year, though those talks later faltered.
Other investor groups have also expressed interest in building a stake in the business. South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation was looking to form a group made up of black shareholders to buy a stake, while ex-Barclays’s chief executive, Bob Diamond, had also publicly expressed interest in a potential acquisition.
The SA Reserve Bank cautioned investors that it wanted owners of the country’s banks to have stability, deep pockets and long-term plans, saying in May it would look negatively on a private-equity bid.
Barclays sold the first slice of its stake in Barclays Africa last May as part of a plan to cut its holding to 20percent or less. The bank sold 103.6 million shares for the equivalent of about $880 million (R11.9bn).
Barclays Africa dropped 1.64 percent on the JSE yesterday to R166.42. – Bloomberg