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Harare - Executives at First Merchant Bank of Malawi (FMB) that has snapped up a controlling stake in Barclays Zimbabwe from its British listed parent company have said the only outstanding issue on the deal are regulatory approvals.

Barclays has also said that it will sell down a 33 percent stake in Barclays Africa Group as part of its plans to exit African markets, although it will retain a small legacy interest in the Zimbabwean operation as well as in Barclays Africa, formerly Absa.

Barclays holds a 67 percent in the Zimbabwean operation, which competes against other international banks such as Standard Chartered, Standard Bank, Nedbank and Ecobank.

First Merchant Bank of Malawi also has operations in Mozambique and Botswana and is now seeking to expand into Zimbabwe through the acquisition of Barclays Bank Zimbabwe. However, both parties have not yet made public how much FMB will pay for the stake.

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“We are convinced that this acquisition, which is subject to completion of satisfactory due diligence and regulatory approvals, will translate into sustainable value for all stakeholders,” Hitesh Anadkat, the chairperson of FMB said this week.

Reports in Zimbabwe additionally show that a deal between Barclays and FMB was struck on Tuesday this week and was announced to Barclays Zimbabwe employees the following day.

Barclays confirmed yesterday that it was selling a 33 percent stake in Barclays Africa, formerly Absa. It is also divesting out of Egypt, which together with the Zimbabwe operation had been left out of the initial merger deal that saw Absa combine its assets and those of Barclays on the continent to form Barclays Africa.

“Employees at Barclays Zimbabwe have already been informed of the agreement that has been reached between the bank’s parent company and FMB. It’s as good as finalised, but regulators in Zimbabwe such as the central bank will have the final say,” said a source in the banking sector in Zimbabwe.