Government wants a bigger stake in Absa: report

State-owned investment group, the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) says it is keen to increase its stake in Barclays Africa, should its parent, Barclays, sell off some of its holdings.

According to a report from BDLive, PIC CEO Daniel Matjila expressed interest in a such a deal speaking to the publication at Davos.

He said it would be “an opportunity to reclaim what we sold”, and that the PIC “would be keen to participate” in a deal if it was put on the table.

No deal is on the table, yet, he said.

The PIC, which manages R1.5 trillion in assets, is currently the biggest South African investor in Barclays Africa, which trades at Absa in the country. The PIC has a 5.44% stake in the group, valued at R5 billion.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that new Barclays CEO, Jes Staley was set on pulling out of African assets which were under-performing for the group.

Read: Barclays is pulling out of Absa: report

Reports indicate that one of the ways to accomplish the retreat would be sell off some of its stake in Absa. Barclays currently holds a 62% stake in Absa.

The bank has reportedly declined to comment, calling the report “market speculation”.

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

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

The bank has also become the target for political groups, the Economic Freedom Fighters and the ANC Youth League, for allegedly perpetuating structures of racism and “white capital supremacy”.

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Government wants a bigger stake in Absa: report