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Johannesburg - Barclays on Thursday increased the number of shares it will sell in Barclays Africa Group from £1.5 billion to £2.2bn, or approximately R37bn, due to strong investor demand.

This comes after Barclays announced on Wednesday that it will sell 187 million ordinary shares in Barclays Africa, which represents approximately 22 percent of Barclays Africa’s issued share capital.

With the increase in the size of the placing of shares on the market, Barclays will now sell a further 285 million ordinary shares to mark another stage in its exit from the continent to focus more on the US and UK.

Barclays said it would sell the shares to large investors, including South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation, in its second such sale since the British bank announced in early 2016 its intention to offload most of its African business.

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Barclays will now hold 139 million ordinary shares in Barclays Africa, reducing its stake to 16.4 percent of Barclays Africa’s issued share capital. Of these, 12.7 million ordinary shares will be contributed to a black economic empowerment scheme in due course, leaving a residual holding of approximately 15percent.

Barclays announced in March last year that it intended to reduce its shareholding in Barclays Africa over a period of two to three years, first selling 103.6 million shares and reducing its shareholding to 50.1 percent.