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Barclays Africa to negotiate for name after parent’s exit

Barclays Bank branch on Muindi Mbigu Street in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE
Barclays Bank branch on Muindi Mbigu Street in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE 

Barclays Africa Group will negotiate to retain its brand name even after its London-based parent Barclays Plc divests from the continent, the Kenyan unit’s CEO, Jeremy Awori , has said.

Mr Awori yesterday said Barclays will retain its brand name at least in the two to three-year period leading up to completion of the anticipated divestment by Barclays Plc.

“With the planned deconsolidation it (Barclays Plc) did not say it would conclusively rid of the brand, it depends on who they sell to. And that is not known now,” said Mr Awori at a media update on the planned sale of the Barclays Plc stake in Africa.

Barclays PLC owns 62.3 per cent of Barclays Africa Group, which in turn holds a controlling stake of 68.5 per cent of Barclays Bank of Kenya and stakes in 11 other operations in Africa.

Mr Awori cited several scenarios on the planned divestiture.
“We can have a scenario where they (Barclays Plc) decide to partner with the purchaser and license the use of the brand. That’s one scenario,” said Mr Awori, highlighting the desire by the lender to retain its brand name.

Mr Awori, however, ruled out a change of the Barclays brand name in the period leading up to the sale saying it was protected by legal agreements.

“There was a licensing agreement between Barclays Africa and Barclays Plc that they cannot dispense of the brand during the period before the sale,” said Mr Awori.

Experts said the desire by Barclays Africa to retain its Barclays brand was not unexpected based on its immense value among its customers.

“The Barclays Africa Brand carries a lot of cachet on the continent. Therefore I appreciate why Jeremy Awori would be keen on its retention.

The (Barclays) share price has been in a tail-spin and is down -24.26 per cent year to date which speaks to investors worrying about franchise erosion,” Rich Management CEO Aly Khan Satchu said in an email interview.

On March 1, Barclays Plc finally confirmed its planned exit from the African market on Tuesday resting months of speculation.

The announcement of the planned exit from its African business sent shock waves across the continent with Kenyan customers of the lender expressing anxiety over the future of the local unit.

Barclays Plc chief executive Jes Staley said then the lender would sell its 62.3 per cent interest in the African business, Barclays Africa Group Ltd (Bagl), over the coming two to three years.

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