South African group said to ready bid to buy 10% of Barclays Africa

The consortium includes the Public Investment Corp. (PIC), Africa’s biggest money manager, which oversees more than $119 billion

A GROUP of South African investors plan to make an offer for 10% of the shares in Barclays Africa Group Ltd., a person familiar with the matter said.

The consortium, which includes the Public Investment Corp., Africa’s biggest money manager, is set to meet  Barclays Plc next week, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

The investors will push for a discount on Barclays Africa’s current share price as the divestment coincides with a deterioration in South Africa’s economy, the person said.

London-based Barclays is preparing to initially sell 10% of its African unit to several large investors, while keeping open the option to divest its entire holding, three people with knowledge of the process said on Thursday. The British lender, which owns more than 62% of the South African bank, said on March 1 it was retreating from the continent, where it has had a presence for more than a century, as part of a plan to raise cash, shrink globally and lighten its capital burden.

It’s not yet clear if Barclays will sell the shares in its Johannesburg-based unit on the market or via an accelerated book build, the person said.

Larger stake

Spokespeople at Barclays and Barclays Africa declined to comment. Sekgoela Sekgoela, a spokesman for Pretoria-based PIC, as it’s known, wasn’t immediately able to respond to questions.

The PIC, which manages the bulk of the South African government’s pension fund money and oversees more than 1.8 trillion rand ($119 billion), said in January it would be interested in a larger stake in Barclays Africa. The bank’s presence in 12 countries across the continent would help the PIC’s African expansion plans, the money manager said at the time. The PIC already holds 5.6% of the lender’s stock, according to Barclays Africa’s annual report, which was published last month.

Barclays Africa has a market value of 112 billion rand, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Barclays first bought a controlling stake in the South African bank in 2005 for 33 billion rand.

-Bloomberg

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