Malawi interest in Barclay's Zim unit

Harare - Barclays has received a firm offer for one of the African operations it intends to sell.

Malawi’s First Merchant Bank (FMB) on Tuesday announced that it was holding exclusive talks to snap up the Zimbabwe unit of the British lender.

The two parties could not disclose the value of the deal that would see FMB taking a 68 percent controlling stake.

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A Barclays Africa branch is seen in downtown Harare. Picture: Nicola Mawson

But Barclays Zimbabwe is said to have a market capitalisation of $60 million (R753 million). The acquisition, however, would be still subjected to regulatory approvals in both countries.

“It might be a firm offer and puts the determination by FMB in greater perspective as it has officially tabled the offer,” a fund manager in Zimbabwe told Business Report.

“Zimbabwe’s banking industry has significant potential as long as there is strict control of lending policies while Barclays Zimbabwe has been very prudent in terms of its asset base and cash-flow management.”

Read also: Barclays to pay R13bn to split from African business

FMB could only confirm that it was engaged in a “significant effort to prepare for a smooth and stable transition whenever the divesture by Barclays” gets effected.

“Discussions with Barclays Bank are ongoing and may or may not result in the announcement of a transaction involving the acquisition of the interest in Barclays Zimbabwe,” company secretary Oswald Mtokale said.


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