Barclays dispels claims of the bank’s shutdown in Africa


Barclays Bank Kenya MD Jeremy Awori
Barclays Bank Kenya MD Jeremy Awori

Barclays Bank of Kenya has downplayed speculation over its exit from Kenya, despite reports that its shareholder could exit the African market.

UK based Barclays PLC is on Tuesday expected to give direction on its 62.3 percent shareholding in Barclays Africa, the main shareholder in Barclays Kenya.

In a statement to newsrooms, Barclays Bank Kenya MD Jeremy Awori said: “I would like to assure all our stakeholders of the following 3 things; first and most important is that Barclays Bank of Kenya is not shutting down. I reiterate Barclays Bank of Kenya is not shutting down and there are no plans at Local, Regional or Group level to shut down our operations here.”

The MD clarified on the on-going speculations saying that it is related to the shareholding of Barclays Africa Group Ltd, the holding company of Barclays Bank of Kenya and does not in any way impact the day to day running of this institution.

“Secondly Your accounts are and continue to be safe and are not impacted in any way by these speculations. I assure you that your money is safe with us and you should not be concerned about the operation of your account. We remain, as always, at your service,” read part of the statement

The MD moved to assure their customers that the bank will continue to grow the Kenyan business insisting that there are no plans at all to shut it down or cease operations.

This comes amid speculations of the bank closure after “The Financial Times Limited 2016” reported of the Barclays’ new chief executive’s plan to announce of the British bank’s decision to exit its African operations in a move to refocus the bank on its core UK and US markets.

“The board has delegated authority to a subcommittee to examine the practicalities of how and when to sell Barclays Africa, one of its four main lines of business. By delegating authority it avoided having to disclose the decision immediately.” Read part of the article

“One benefit of selling out of Africa is that it could address worries about Barclays’ capital. Analysts at Jefferies estimate that a sale could add as much as 0.8 percentage points to Barclays’ core capital ratio — taking it much closer to its 12 per cent target.”

“Talks over a deal to sell Barclays’ Egyptian and Zimbabwean operations to its South African subsidiary broke down this month, and the bank is now likely to also sell its operations in those two countries.”read part of the article

Barclays Africa Group was formed in 2013 and Barclays PLC owns 62.3% of Barclays Africa Group Limited which in turn holds a controlling stake in Barclays Bank of Kenya and 11 other operations in Africa.

Barclays Bank of Kenya is in its 100th year of operation in this country.

The bank started off as the National Bank of South Africa in 1916 before becoming the Barclays Bank DCO (Dominion, Colonial and Overseas) and later Barclays Bank of Kenya.

In a statement, Barclays Africa CEO Maria Ramos added that the group remains committed to its operations in Africa.

 

“With an independent board and a separate listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange we are deeply rooted in Africa and remain firmly in control of our future,” Ms Ramos said.

 

It was, however, not clear how the group would operate should the UK based bank exit.

 

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Story By Wangui Ngechu
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