British bank Barclays has announced plans to gradually reduce its majority stake in the group's African unit due to net losses having more than doubled last year.
In a statement that also revealed annual losses after tax of £394 million for the bank as a whole, Barclays said:
"We are today announcing our intention to sell down our 62.3% interest in our African business, BAGL, over the coming two to three years."
Barclays has said it will split the company into two units, Barclays UK and Barclays Corporate and International, as it undergoes major restructuring under new CEO, Jes Staley (pictured). Staley has been tasked with restoring the bank's battered reputation caused by a series of scandals, among them the rigging of foreign exchange and Libor interest rate markets.
In South Africa, Barclays Africa operates as Absa, though in the rest of Africa operations are largely branded Barclays, with the exception of Tanzania, where it has an additional outfit that operates as the National Bank of Commerce, and in Namibia, where its representative office bears the name Absa.
South Africa's Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which is interested to increasing its stake in Barclays Africa, has said it is waiting for both a formal announcement and a deal on the table before it will act.