NSE temporarily halts Barclays stock from trading as lender rebrands to Absa

Monday February 10 2020

Barclays Bank rebrands to Absa.

A woman uses an ATM at a branch of Barclays South African subsidiary Absa Bank in Johannesburg on March 6, 2016. The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) temporarily suspended the trading of Barclays Bank of Kenya shares on February 10, 2020 as the lender rebrands to Absa. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JAMES ANYANZWA
By JAMES ANYANZWA
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The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) temporarily suspended the trading of Barclays Bank of Kenya (BBK) shares on Monday to allow the settlement of the lender’s outstanding obligations as well as change of its trading ticker code.

This comes after the lender, which has been operating in the country for more than 100 years, officially changed its name and brand to Absa Bank Kenya Plc after receiving all the necessary shareholder and regulatory approvals.

All contractual relationships and obligations that the lender has with its customers, partners and other stakeholders are not affected by the change of the name.

The rebrand is part of a continental wide move by its new parent Company, South Africa’s Barclays Africa Group Ltd, to revert to Absa Group Ltd after the exit of the British Barclays Plc from Africa.

Barclays Plc’s departure from the Africa came after the UK-based lender made a strategic decision to sell off business units it does not consider core operations and shift attention to consumer, corporate and investment banking.

In a statement on Monday, the Nairobi bourse said the temporary halt of the BBK’s stock from trading is in line with the NSE Equities Trading Rules and will allow the ticker code from BBK to ABSA.

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In 2016 Barclays Plc announced its plans to exit the African market by selling off its entire 62.3 per cent shareholding in Barclays Africa Group or reducing it to a non-controlling interest over a two-three-year period

In December 2017 Barclays plc completed the sale of its majority shares in Barclays Africa Group Ltd to 14.9 per cent from a high of 62.3 per cent.

Following the exit of Barclays Plc, Barclays Africa group, which is now 40 per cent majority owned by South African investors, announced its plans to rebrand all African operations to Absa subject to regulatory approvals

As a result, in July 2018 Barclays Africa changed its name back to Absa Group Ltd in a rebranding exercise aimed at underscoring the lender’s South African roots.

Barclays Africa Group, now Absa Group Ltd, is listed on the Johannesburg stock exchange (JSE) and owns stakes in 12 countries across the continent including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mauritius, Namibia, Zambia, Seychelles, Ghana, Nigeria, Mozambique, Botswana and South Africa.

Absa plans to complete rebranding its African operations by mid this year.

Absa was originally an acronym for Amalgamated Banks of South Africa, created in 1991 through the merger of several South African banks including United Bank (South Africa), the Allied Bank (South Africa) and the Volkskas Bank Group.

Barclays Africa Group was formed by combining South Africa’s Absa Group Limited and Barclays plc’s African operations in 2013.

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