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Barclays is pulling out of Absa: report

Barclays is pulling out of Absa: report

Barclays bank is sounding the retreat in Africa, with plans being drawn up to drop some of its stake in Barclays Africa.

The group currently holds a 62% stake in the Africa group which serves as its foothold onto the continent.

While known as Absa locally, Barclays Africa is a group of banks operating across Africa, including Kenya and Botswana.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Barclays was one of the few ‘western’ banks to form a big presence on the continent.

However, with many sub-Saharan economies in turmoil – including South Africa – the adventure no longer fits in with the group’s strategy.

The move comes as result of new Barclays CEO Jes Staley’s move to cut weak units from the bank.

Based in South Africa, Barclays Africa/Absa has been hit hard by recent economic turmoil.

The rand has lost over 30% of its value in the past few weeks, while the country is plagued by poor economic policies and ongoing drought conditions.

The ANC Youth League blames Absa for the rand weakness, saying that Barclays itself is behind the crash.

The political group said that Barclays has been “excessively and aggressively” selling the local currency for the past few months.

“This has created a panic in international commodity trading platforms like forex. The excessive selling by Barclays has in turn reduced the demand for the South African rand,” the ANCYL said.

“The plan is to sell so much of the rand currency in order to drive down its price and then to later re-purchase it, which will push up its value as demand for it increases.”

“This is how that they profiteer and play with our country, through their actions.”

The league pointed out that in May 2015, Barclays was hit with a $2.4 Billion fine for rigging the foreign exchange market, and has, over time, paid a total of $638 million for misconduct related to Foreign Exchange at the New York Department of Financial Services.

They accused the finance house of ditching South Africa in favour of boosting the economies of their home countries.

More on Absa

Absa revolt as staff threaten to join Malema protest: report

We will shut ‘racist’ Absa down: Malema

ANC Youth League blames Absa for the rand crash

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  • Dreigorian

    And it begins, foreign companies are pulling the plug on sa…the beginning of the big collapse.

    • Anonnic

      They are not pulling the plug. They are buying R’s and selling them cheap. It’s called Libor rate rigging!

      • Gareth David

        I actually have heard of a number of international companies who is pulling out of SA… wouldn’t surprise me if barclays does the same.

        • Anonnic

          Companies are closing doors everywhere. EU, US and the better part of the whole world is doing bad. It’s not an SA thing. With low oil prices sucking liquidity out of capital markets it’s hard for companies to borrow to survive.

          • Gareth David

            I agree companies are closing, but I’m talking of confirmed cases where they are pulling out due to not being able to work with the labour laws, the weakening rand and for them weak outlook. Some of them went and opened new offices in Nigeria, Angola etc.

          • Traveller

            If they think working in Nigeria and Angola is easier than South Africa then good luck to them.

          • Just think of what they can do with the money going into the Nigerian Princes’ accounts!

          • Gareth David

            Well, they’ve been doing business in those countries for a decade… just they initially though SA was a better hub for business in Africa…. clearly things are changing.

          • peterq

            And Botswana.

          • Concerned

            THANK YOU! I understand our government is bad but people are honestly too lazy to do their research and would much rather blame every small thing on the government.

        • rori

          Nameless companies, hahaha you wish.
          Companies are investing more to build their capacity. Ford is one of many.

          • Gareth David

            Yeah… “nameless” companies… for legal reasons, I’m not stepping into that one… Even if the chance are small, but some are in the progress of announcing it and this would have financial implications i don’t want to be apart of…

          • Gareth David

            What is Barclays doing… one of them.

      • african4

        Absolute rubbish, because you see the buying and selling of Rands (forex) is overseen BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN RESERVE BANK, which means that the government must be involved.


      • Blapartheid Zulu

        Yes, South Africa will always be ok. Don’t worry! ANC and Zuma will fix this , right anonnic ?

      • rori

        Because they are ailing.

    • peterq

      Part of why Citibank pulled the plug on SAA. Down you go, we do not like corruption. They have to pull out, zuma made sure they can never make profit here. The dropping rand ( Thank you zuma) is killing any profit. Even SA companies are going off-shore, they know time here is limited.

      • I think the Citibank / SAA affair was far more that the Yanks saw a shortage of opportunity to make a quick buck.

        • rori

          They do need a quick buck, they are in trouble, they were screwed by the Russian mafia.
          these foreign banks are in trouble and see SA as a quick answer to their problems which is not the case.

      • rori

        Citibank, a US bank, hahaha US banks are hated in the US.
        They are the most corrupt entities in that country, Americans blame them for the 2008 economic collapse.
        US banks have paid billions of dollars to the Russian mafia, now that’s what I call corruption.
        You know very little, typical uneducated SA white with very little knowledge of whats happening in the world.

    • Leonie Booysen

      Might not be good for SA citizens but I love to have SA nose rub in their incompetence

      • rori

        Barclays was not good for SA.
        To them I say Good Riddance.
        Incompetence, you’re right. Maria Ramos’ gross incompetence.
        She was a given a mandate to take ABSA to the rest of Africa and she has failed to do that because no politician is interested in her second hand ass.
        Remember, she rose up the ranks by sleeping with her boss Trevor Manuel.

    • The BOSS

      True, and it’s because of these spoilt EFF young boys. All they think about is looting and drinking sprees. And more foreign companies will pull out

      • rori

        DA will never govern SA.
        Now try to swallow that lump in your throat.

        • Leonie Booysen

          And if it is the ANC’s choice this country will burn. The sooner the better

    • hernan cortez

      Nope, just a riggged banker market, they do this with all dollars, even in canada it fell from us parity to now 67 cents a dollar.

      • Marianne Schreiner Greig

        The reason the dollar fell is to do with Trudeau,that traitor who is importing and paying millions for Syrians to come to Canada!

    • David Van Zyl

      That has ever been the case, investing money in Africa is flushing bucks down the drain -waves goodbye to foreign investors-.

    • rori

      Which foreign companies are you talking about, Barclays?, hahaha, an ailing bank that came here hoping to find a quick fix to their troubles.
      Barclays is one of many ailing British companies.
      You’re stupid.
      American companies are trickling in leaving you with a huge lump in your throat.

  • Broscientist

    The ANC “youth” league must be happy

    • StewartR3

      The youth refers to mental age, not physical.

      • Atmos

        Well said!

    • ANCYL haven’t said much about this. All the noise has come from their descendants, now called EFF.

  • Veldmeisie

    DON’T PANIC!! Juliass has got this! HE will save all the jobs!

    • Big Brother

      hahahahaha. Funny.

    • african4

      You must mean that Juliass will save his job, because according to Juliass, if everything is good for him, then everything is good for everybody.

      • Miyagiyoda

        Zuma’s apprentice will become the master.

        • Wurnman

          Always two there are… A student and Master….
          **YODA, Circa 3653 BBY***

  • First, blame Barcley’s for apartheid during apartheid. Then blame Barcley’s when they pull out after apartheid. Then cook up some conspiracy theory that Barcley’s is just doing this to fiddle with share prices.

    I don’t think it is realistic to think Barcley’s would take such a decision lightly, given that they are the only Western bank to have had a foot in the door here and therefore are sitting with more or less a monopoly. They really are trimming the fat and I don’t think we will see them back any time soon.

    • Who is Barcley’s?

      • Rick Grimes

        The neighbour’s dog, didn’t you know? 🙂

      • Ja ja Barclays

    • peterq

      Taken with Citibank pulling the plug on SAA, do not expect anyone to come rushing in. Besides the ANC have made it clear they do not want American and European investment.

  • Luisa Maria Graça Dingley

    there goes all the jobs……

    • peterq

      No we will create our own. Hehehehehe

  • Dylan Kuchiki Clarke

    Oh look the unemployment rate just went up 😀
    Enjoy those Matrics ANC voters.

  • Richard Nieckau

    IF the recent move by Barclay’s is so detrimental to our economy, then why are we only hearing about it now (and through the ancyl nogal)

    Where is the ANC leadership in this matter? The ship is sailing itself and is rudderless – or maybe its intentional… given how much care is allowed for almost every other important issue regarding our standing in the global economy. Africa’s most powerful and successful country will soon find its precious parity, where all its energy is being spent..that is when everyone is dead and gone we will be equally lost.

    • peterq

      The ANC leadership sent the ANCYL to close down ABSA.

      • Was that ANCYL or EFF? Or, what’s the difference, anyway?

    • Miyagiyoda

      Watch this space as Chancellor House increases its stake in ABSA at a discount. Buying elections ain’t cheap.

  • Stephen Vigus

    Yesterday Barcleys said they are upping their game in SA (source Fin24), now this article says they are pulling out.
    Made up article much?

    • Miyagiyoda

      Some would say pulling out locally is upping your game on the continent.

  • pmurgs

    Barclay’s took all the gold in the Absa Gold Fund over to London, which we will never get back now.

  • StewartR3

    What is the source for this information? Why would they be hiring if they are pulling out?

    • PabloEsc

      They are considering selling off their shareholding. i suppose who ever buys will continue business.

  • The Mack

    Weak/lazy and sensationalist journalism here. This is a rehash of the Financial Times story from last year with a bit of extra noise from the Youth League. The article headline is particularly misleading, smacks of click baiting and seems rather unsubstantiated within the content if the article.

    There is no actual direct reference to Barclays pulling out of Absa in this article and no direct quotes or comments from anyone at either of those banks.

  • Anonnic

    How many people does Barclays employ in SA again? Oh none, they are all employed by ABSA! So what is their contribution, nothing. They take money out of SA, they don’t push money into SA . They can leave and it will not effect SA in the slightest way.

    • You need to learn a bit about company structuring. The South African ABSA operation has an official company name something like “Barclays Africa Group Ltd”. It is a subsidiary of the London-based Barclays group, so the local staff are employed (semi-indirectly) by Barclays, never mind what the sign over the door says.
      It is still up for debate as to whether Barclays gained or lost when they sold off their previous SA company in the 1980s to form FNB (Maybe SA gained by getting rid of the foreigners…).

      • Anonnic

        Yeah but surely if they sell their stake the “offices” will remain under the ABSA banner not so? Don’t know much about corporate structuring but I would imagine if say the government bought up these shares they can keep all staff while kicking out foreigners thus keeping more capital int he country?

        • Kenny

          Enoch Godongwana, head of the ANC’s economic transformation committee, said his party was aware of the developments at the bank.

          “I am aware of the allegations that Absa hired 500 consultants from London without looking at black talent. I am aware of allegations that black economic empowerment and affirmative action are being undermined,” said Godongwana.

          • peterq

            And the FS brought in hundreds of Cubans to take over SA jobs, as part of a corrupt deal. So Godo can go f

        • PabloEsc

          The government purchasing the shares would mean money going out of the economy. These foreigners you seem eager to kick out bring investment.

          • peterq

            Job creation and skills, but who needs those with a ANC education. Hehehehe

        • Heaven forbid! ABSA is bad enough already without turning it into another Post Office, Eskom or SAA!

  • In the news 16 December……

  • Götterdammerung

    It is my understanding the United Technology Company (UTC FTSE UTX) have sold Chubb Security as well. When a money spinner like Chubb is sold off you must know there be sharks in them waters. Now waiting to hear if Tyco is going to sell ADT

    • Rooikop

      Makes you wonder what they know that we don’t

      • Götterdammerung

        Our economists and “captains of industry” have for the longest time been pulling the wool over the proletariats eyes – with the Communist inspired departments of denial and lying cooperation. This suited the government as they could proceed with looting the state coffers. But now the jig is up, reality will set in.

      • Watching with Interest

        Simple math. If the Government push their security bill through in its present form, all security companies including Chubb would need to sell 51% to a BBEEE partner anyway. UTC have simply sent a rather clear response to the threat and Tyco will follow suit shortly. This is what happens when politics and free enterprise clash and it is only the start of the downfall.

        • Rooikop

          I forgot about that one!

        • hernan cortez

          Why shouldn’t they? You need a 51% ownership of yellow man to run business in china, they should have 51% black ownership to run business in africa. That is fine for greedy foreigners who don’t care about blacks, they shouldn’t be allowed the privilege to access our markets anyways.

          • Nextlevel


    • Anonnic

      I believe there is currently an economical war being waged against BRICS.
      “Across the Atlantic, the Bank of England is involved in interest rate
      fixing of an order of magnitude that makes corruption in developing
      countries look puny by comparison.”
      AGOA trade suspension is blackmail. They want to dump 65 000 tones of chicken here and give us access to their Auto Market. A market that we will not be able to compete in.

      • Götterdammerung

        You know, I love a conspiracy theory just as much as the next yob. However, this is a disaster of BRICS’ own making. Brazil went down the steep side of a cliff because of the socialist policies – same as here. How did Maggie Thatcher put it? “Socialism is great until you run out of other people’s money”. And as with SA there were too many non-producers and too little paying the piper their “fair share”. China has forever relied on the government to fund, drive and regulate their economic growth. But you can only make so much cheap FMCG products and the market is saturated – then the poo hits the fan. India is becoming a services oriented economy – they produce less and less but every second shared service centre or call centre is situated in India. As the world becomes more tech savvy – and surprisingly more stupid – the need for these services are declining. An economical war against BRICS? Maybe but when these 5 came together to hatch their plans they should have thought of the unintended consequences

        • peterq

          BRICS is nothing and never will be something. China wanted it to keep their economy on track and export people and goods, Russia wanted it because it is bankrupt and the rest wanted to play with the big boys.

          • Dreigorian

            Don’t bother with anonnic his pro communism and the countries with it.

      • peterq

        More like zuma having an economic war against his own people. Countries look after their own people and interests, unfortunately zuma looks after himself.

      • NeonPigeon

        65 000 tons is nothing. Nothing compared to 1.8 MILLION tons of consumption in SA. Also – the type that is imported is not the kind of stuff that SA was ever able to compete in. Kind of embarrassing that SA (where there is labour, space and maize – until recently) cannot compete with refrigerated chicken sent around the world. Why should consumers subsidise that protectionism?

        • Anonnic

          Well now to be fair we don’t feed our chickens Generically modified crops. The Chicken being dumped here did not pass Sanitary inspections and they are GMO Chickens. You know when we start getting more cancer, I’m sure we wont mind since the chicken tasted finger licken good. No one in the world wants their GMO crap so we become a dumping ground.

          • News for you: about 90% of maize grown in SA today is GM (Just read the fine print on the back of your Corn Flakes packet).

          • Lynda Jones

            Unfortunately SA, like a lot of smaller countries, doesn’t have the infrastructure to separate GMO from non-GMO maize and wheat, so they are mixed in the silos. Personally, I don’t eat bread more than twice a week now, and won’t touch mieliemeel at all. I can eat rice, if I’m careful about where it comes from, because that has been genetically modified now too. I hope to have my book finished by the end of the year. It is called Food Security under the new Neo-Colonialism, which is exactly what the GMO seed/pesticide/herbicide/artificial fertiliser group is.

          • NeonPigeon

            Really? SA chickens not feed GMOs? LOL. Also, with all the brine the SA companies put in and charge more for, do they really have a leg to stand on wrt quality? Let the consumers decide.

          • Lynda Jones

            No dear, only partly right. Not GMO chickens, that hasn’t happened yet. Chickens fed on GMO feed and stuffed with antibiotics, yes they are. And our chickens are also getting a GMO feed diet, just a bit less of it, and stuffed with antibiotics, which help prevent infection from injuries in factory farmed chickens, which are packed head to arse, side to side with no room to move unless they climb over each other. Demand and buy free range chickens, or give up eating chicken, or accept being poisoned. Dumping 3rd grade chicken on SA is not on. Ours is only a bit better.

          • wjb

            And you know this how? You must not be too well informed. Chickens in SA feeds are grown from new hatch-ling to slaughter ready in 32 days. Please do some real facts checks before you rant.

      • Greg_Shark

        RSA already competes in USA automotive market. In terms of fixed vehicle units BMW supplies USA with the 3 series range

        • Xavier Nienaber

          Which is now being taken away from SA as from Next year…. No more 3 series production because our workers strike too Much… I sincerely hope we don’t turn into Zim

      • By all accounts, BMW and Mercedes from SA are competing quite happily in the US auto market already.

    • peterq

      With zumas exchange rate any money made in SA is worthless, then you got the ANC threat of taking them over. Why stay and invest when the government does not want your investment.

    • The security industry is under attack from ANC who feel they don’t get a big enough kickback from the profits without having made any capital investments or done any actual work running the outfits.
      The overseas owners are seeing the writing on the wall. If they don’t sell out quick enough they will get nationalised and get nothing back at all.

  • confused

    Just a comment on the report – was this about Barclay’s and Absa or the ANCL? Surely, if you want to quote the ANCL so extensively, you could have made the effort to get additional comment from the Bank as well in an effort to provide a balanced report?

  • arthur

    So Barclays already raped ABSA and South Africans from profits in the good times now they withdraw it because they stripped the car from all its spares ?? Dam colonialists tippical British metality

  • Alan Narunsky

    With the disgusting service dished up by ABSA to its clients being indicative of the competency and quality of ABSA staff its its no wonder Barclays have no option but to withdraw

  • FormerBBuser

    Western banks, corruption havens.

  • AnRkey


  • bengine

    Typical – we will invest when it suits us but will bugger off at the first sign of trouble.

    Good riddance as far as I am concerned – tired of being a plaything for big corporations.

    Better to die on your feet than live on your knees.

  • #TimeForChange

    Potential Buyers ….? PIC ?

  • Robert Dixon

    Ignore all the politicians and economists.
    The Rand and SA are in trouble because the rest of the world can see that prospects are very bleak indeed.
    So the Rand free-falls and companies start pulling out because the risk is too high and better return on investment is available elsewhere.

  • Rudolph Stoltz

    So the renaissance of Africa is over ?

  • Nico Van Der Merwe

    You know what they say, pull out before you blow

  • KDOG 007

    South African people should stop voting out of fear that the country will go to the dogs if someone else led. Vote for the person that at least have a proper economical and educational background. You cannot vote for someone knowing that they don’t even have an education and expect them to run a whole country. That does not make any sense. Its like asking a 6 year old with no clue to run your house for 5 years. How long will it take to rectify the damage done. If South Africans can wake up and make the right move by looking at the presidential candidates proven background, then we would not be in this situation. Vote on merit and not on the color of skin, or cultural background. Put the best candidate in charge. Doesn’t matter who it is, as long as the person has the background to back it up.

  • Louis Botes

    Next to collapse is property. Imagine a property bond of 2mil+ and valuation dropped up to 50% of original cost. (in Africa this is possible). The biggest losers will be black owners with existing loans. Whites mostly own property that is fully paid.

    SA is a country in anarchy. Barclays knows this, and is cutting ties.

  • Louis Botes

    Next to collapse is property. Imagine a property bond of 2mil+ and valuation dropped up to 50% of original cost. (in Africa this is possible). The biggest losers will be black owners with existing loans. Whites mostly own property that is fully paid.

    SA is a country in anarchy. Barclays knows this, and is cutting ties.

  • TheZenOfZen

    If Barclays was indeed fined for rigging the exchange market, then there may just be some merit in the argument of them fixing the Rand. The most popular view is seldom the right one.

    • Greg_Shark

      it would make no sense if Barclays (/ goldman sachs) manipulating the rand if Barclays is disinvesting in Africa…the will get less bang for their Pound. If they disinvesting due to poor return and high risk, why would they buy back in? there is no evidence that RSA is going to improve anytime soon.
      they may be involved in ‘profit taking’ on the exchange market but then so would and could there be a multitude of others doing precisely the same….. like you say….popular view (with ancyl) is seldom the right one

  • NeurenPietersen

    Join the DA Jobs March on the 27th January to Mary FitzGerald Square.

  • disqus_YXczy1K8mI

    wake up you stupid self-centered ANC morons!! Why do you still blame others when this disinvestment happens since YOU do nothing positive to attract real value coming from a sound stable investment. You do what to improve productivity? towards more export? Towards higher standards, encouraging innovation and nurturing globally competitive products or services?

    But you did the opposite – broke more than you mended, destroyed more opportunity than deserving to patronizing little racist fascists like your ‘youth league’… always aggressively barking and growling at everyone else at your masters beck n call.. like the subservient underdogs you are.

    So quick to talk before stopping to think first….and how many jobs did your ANCYL create to alleviate poverty this past decade?

    but you produced nothing, exported nothing mostly because of ANC failure to grow our economy – because you do nothing but demand demand demand the rest of humanity compensate you be entitled to everything white people have as if they stole it from you – but refusing to build and sustain anything similar yourselves …

    Your your only claim of achievement is and oafish arrogance and perpetually abrasive insults.

  • On a somewhat irrelevant note, Apple increased its App Store prices in South Africa. Guess why.

  • Cheeseburger

    Well this is going to be fun.

  • FragtioN

    HKGK. You asked for it Mr. Z00mer. Down the tubes we go. “South Africans overreacted to my decision to axe Nene, Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha” goes the Z00mer. Well there’s an Afrikaans saying which goes “Die laste lag lag die lekkerste”. We must go back Europe, you say? Sure. The great trek has begun… and as for RSA? Zimbabwe here we come

  • Trac Mila
    For those that don’t know exactly what’s going on.

    Government is a racket. Load shedding was a false flag operation. Big business gets the contracts and governments get the kickbacks. Isn’t it bizarre now that Russia has been awarded a ten billion rand contract we don’t have load shedding anymore.
    There’s bound to be more behind Barclay’s pulling out. The loser will always be us and our hard earned cash. Never government or big business.

  • DavidConsult

    Maybe it has something to do with ABSA halving it’s market cap from £8.8 billion by 30 April to £4.2 billion today?

  • MH

    ” The ANC Youth League blames Absa for the rand weakness” – just shows how uneducated the ANC youth really are – they truly are a bunch of completely uneducated fools. They shouldn’t look up to their #1 for math skills either!

  • Citibank pulled the plug on the apartheid regime. That was real. This remains a rumour until Barclays actually announces their intentions:

  • Cindy-Lee Rasdien

    who is the article source?

  • Marianne Schreiner Greig

    Cannot blame them,what with the perilous financial state SA is in!

  • rori

    Barclays must get out of South Africa, their ABSA stake was nothing but a desperate purchase they hoped would give them a quick recovery.
    They were in trouble before their venture into SA.
    We were just fine without them, they should have gone back to FNB and leave ABSA alone.
    I don’t like Barclays. I don’t like British companies, they see SA as a market that would give them a quick return.
    Following Barclays take over, ABSA retrenched thousands of staff.

    Besides, they went for a controversial bank which should have been taken over by the government in 1994.
    ABSA was made and bailed out many times by the apartheid regime.
    They never paid back those billions in bail outs.

    I bank with FNB, I hate FNB, I want to move to ABSA and Standard Bank, or Standard Bank and Nedbank. Standard Bank fits perfectly in my future plans.

  • rori

    Look at these poor, emigrants, frustrated overseas talking about nameless companies pulling out of SA.
    What a bunch of fools, many are homeless and posting from their phones which is the only thing they can afford.
    You don’t want me to start about the high divorce rate among South African immigrants in Australia.
    Not to mention the crimes they commit in New Zealand.
    To you all I say good riddance, nobody misses you here.
    We are doing just fine without you uneducated beneficiaries of apartheid.
    Cheap labour overseas, hahahaha

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