Barclays looks to insurance to support growth

Barclays looks to insurance to support growth

Barclays Africa Group is expanding its insurance business through acquisitions to support growth, its deputy chief executive said on Friday.

David Hodnett said the bank was scouting for an insurance business to buy in Ghana, having bought First Assurance in Kenya in a transaction completed in November.

“There are a lot of insurance parties who are interested in Africa but we marry it together with our banking proposition which I believe gives us a unique advantage,” he said in an interview in the Kenyan capital.

British bank Barclays Plc has cut its stake in Barclays Africa to 50.1 percent from 62 percent and may sell the rest to a strategic investor as it retreats from Africa to focus on core markets in Britain and the United States. [nL5N18212N]

Hodnett said a lot of potential buyers were expressing an interest in the business.

“But there is a big difference between expression of interest and an offer that everybody is happy with,” he said.

The company was undeterred by a slowdown in African economies on the back of the commodity price drop, Hodnett said.

“We still believe in the Africa rising narrative,” he said, adding that even countries that were no longer expanding robustly still offered some opportunities.

Barclays Africa wanted to be in the top three by revenue in all the markets it operates in, Hodnett said, adding that it was pursuing a bank licence in Nigeria.

“While a lot of people might view it as being difficult, we view it as an exciting opportunity to build an African bank for the future,” he said.

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Joy Chelagat
Story By Joy Chelagat
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