Barclays exit not because of SA economy: Ramos

Barclays Group’s decision to pull out of Barclays Africa and Absa has nothing to do with any conspiracy or the economic environment in South Africa, CEO Maria Ramos said on Tuesday.

“It’s never easy to go through these changes, but we have strong results, a clear strategy and we are in great shape,” Barclays Africa tweeted its CEO as saying. “We have 42 000 colleagues across the continent that are focused and energised. This is a fantastic franchise.”

“Changes in global banking regulatory environment made it difficult for Barclays (Group) to own a subsidiary like Barclays Africa.”

Barclays Africa closed 2% higher on the JSE on Tuesday, trading at R138.89 with a market cap of R117.74bn.

Speaking to Bruce Whitfield on Radio 702, Ramos explained that the UK-based bank’s decision to relinquish its 62% controlling share of its African unit was because it needed to get its own house in order.

“It has absolutely nothing to do with any conspiracy and has nothing to do with economic environment, whether it’s in South Africa or anywhere else across the continent,” she said.

Analysts and traders like founder Garth Mackenzie disagreed.

“The rumours of Barclays selling their African business first surfaced after (Nhlanhla) Nene was fired in December,” Mackenzie told Fin24.

“The weakening of the rand, (which dropped 25% against the dollar in 2015), has negatively impacted the value of Barclays’ investment,” he said. “Particularly in the past six months.”


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Barclays exit not because of SA economy: Ramos