Barclays is preparing to scale back its global ambitions by selling off its once-prized African operations.
The bank, under the leadership of its new chief executive, Jes Staley, is reported to have concluded that it is time to leave the continent where it once had major ambitions for growth.
In 2005, Barclays spent £2.9bn on a 60% stake in local banking group Absa, 20 years after being forced out by anti-apartheid protesters. By 2012, the bank was boasting that it was making 20% of its profits out of the continent.
But Staley is said to have concluded that, against a backdrop of a slowdown in Africa and the devaluation of the rand, it was time to consider a sale of the operations.
According to the Financial Times, the board has asked a subcommittee to analyse its options – avoiding the need for an immediate announcement to the stock market.
A sale of the business may not be straightforward but is likely to be discussed alongside Barclays’ 2015 results on Tuesday. Barclays is the last of the major high street banks to publish its figures and will be under scrutiny for signs of any deviation by Staley from the strategy set out his predecessor Antony Jenkins.
This article was written by Jill Treanor, for theguardian.com on Friday 26th February 2016 19.51 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010