Jun 1, 2017

Barclays sells Zimbabwe operation to Malawi lender

Barclays has ended its 105-year presence in Zimbabwe by agreeing to sell its operations in the cash-starved African country to First Merchant Bank, a Malawi-listed lender. The agreement comes only a day after Barclays said it had cut its stake in its main African operation from 50 per cent to 15 per cent, selling control of the Johannesburg-listed business, which has always remained separate from the UK bank's Zimbabwe business. It is selling its two-thirds stake in Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe, which is listed in its home country with a market capitalisation of $73m. The deal means Standard Chartered is the only western bank left in Zimbabwe, which is grappling with a severe dollar shortage and political uncertainty over Robert Mugabe, the 93-year-old president, ahead of next year's election. Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe, which has $476m of total assets and made $10.9m of net profit last year, is a similar size to First Merchant Bank, which has $450m in assets and made $10m of profit last year. Barclays will transfer all of the bank's 700 employees, 25 retail branches and five corporate service centres in Zimbabwe to First Merchant Bank.

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