Absa-Barclays deal signals wider product range offer

Engineers work on Moroto-Nakapiripirit road. The merger will enable Barclays Bank across Africa have access to a bigger balance sheet that will enable the bank to fund big infrastructure projects. Photo by Steven Ariong.

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Absa is expected to be renamed Barclays Africa Group Limited early next month.

Barclays Uganda customers are set to enjoy a number of innovative products following the approval of the Absa-Barclays merger by Africa’s central banks regulators.

Barclays Uganda managing director Charles Ongwae told the Daily Monitor in an interview on Monday that among the products to be replicated in Uganda following the merger of Absa and Barclays African businesses will include the introduction of a mobile money product – CashSend.

CashSend – a brainchild of Absa, one of South Africa’s largest commercial banks –enables customers to send funds via Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to recipients that do not have a bank account or card.

Recipients are able to withdraw funds from an ATM without needing a card or bank account.

Barclays said in a statement on Monday that with regulatory approvals in Uganda, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, Seychelles, Tanzania and Zambia, the hurdle has been cleared to enable the two institutions seal the final deal at the end of this month.

This development is one of the final stages for a merger process that began early this year to enable Absa group Limited acquire a portfolio of Barclays’ Africa Limited – its parent company – to grow the bank’s foot print on the African continent.

Mr Ongwae said the merger will enable Barclays Bank across Africa have access to a bigger balance sheet that will enable the bank to fund big infrastructure projects across Africa.

The deal involved issuance of 129.5 million shares, valued at R18.3 billion (about $1.8 billion) by Absa to the parent company Barclays, as part of a plan to fold most of the London-based lender’s African operations into Absa.

However, Absa is expected to be renamed Barclays Africa Group Limited early next month. The development, , increases Barclays’ stake in the bank to 62.3 per cent from 55.5 per cent.

Although the Barclays brand will remain in most of the markets where the bank operates including Uganda, the Absa brand will still be used in South Africa.

Commenting on the development, Barclays chief executive Africa Ms Maria Ramos, said the development sets the bank firmly on course to become a Pan-African institution by increasing its growth opportunities on the continent.

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