FILE PHOTO: The Barclays headquarters building is seen in the Canary Wharf business district of London
The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has indicated that it would buy the biggest chunk of the 187 million shares in Barclays Africa (BAGL), valued at £1.6billion (R26.84bn), that the group has put up for sale as it inches closer to reducing its African business from its balance sheet.

PIC chief executive Daniel Matjila confirmed it would be buying the shares.

He admitted the PIC was eyeing a much bigger slice. “The intention was to get more than we eventually got, but were prevented from doing so by regulatory issues that prohibited us from taking a bigger chunk,” said Matjila.

Barclays yesterday said the shares were being offered to institutional investors through an accelerated book-build placing, which was opened with immediate effect.

“The PIC has confirmed its participation as an anchor investor in the placing for approximately 59million shares, representing 7percent of BAGL’s issued share capital.”

The sale would see Barclays reducing its stake from 50.1percent to about 28percent. The company initially cut its stake from 62percent to 50.1percent last year.

The bank said it had received the necessary regulatory approvals to further sell down its position in BAGL and would continue to do so.

It said the PIC would take ownership of the shares at a later stage due to regulatory considerations.

“Delivery of the placing shares to be taken up by PIC is expected to occur at a later date following receipt of the necessary regulatory approvals.”

Barclays said its intention was to divest its holding to a level which would permit it to deconsolidate BAGL from a regulatory and an accounting perspective.

Its long-term aim is to hold about 15 percent in BAGL.