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PIC in talks with Barclays on African business stake: source

May 04 2016 13:26

Johannesburg - South Africa's state pension fund is talking to Barclays about buying some of the stake which the British bank is selling in its African business, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Barclays is selling down its 62% stake, which is worth some R73.77bn, in Barclays Africa Group (BAG) under a plan by new CEO Jes Staley to simplify the bank's structure and generate higher shareholder returns.

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Africa's largest fund manager with more than R1.8trn of South African government employee pension assets under its custody, is the second-biggest shareholder in BAG with a holding of about 6%.

"There are discussions going on about the PIC increasing its stake in Barclays Africa," the source said, declining to be named because the matter is private. "There's no PIC-led consortium. It's just the PIC,"

Barclays declined to comment.

The PIC is the second investor to show interest in BAG, which runs South Africa's biggest retail bank, after a source told Reuters last month that Atlas Mara has teamed up with private equity group Carlyle to prepare a bid.

However, any deal involving a private equity player could face regulatory opposition from South Africa's central bank.

"As a regulator, we would not be comfortable with private equity play for any of the banks," deputy governor Kuben Naidoo said at a press conference in Pretoria on Tuesday. He did not comment on any specific bank.

Valued at R4.87bn, Atlas Mara was set up by former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond, who has confirmed that his firm has already lined up funding for an offer, without elaborating on what form the financing would take.

barclays africa  |  pic  |  bob diamond
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