Barclays Africa Group Limited has settled on a new name, Absa Group Limited, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Barclays Africa Group Limited, Ms Maria Ramos, has announced.
The move, she said, would, however, be subjected to approval as it would be tabled before the group’s shareholders for consideration at its annual general meeting (AGM) slated for May 15 this year.
“Barclays Africa Group Limited will be renamed Absa Group Limited in due course and trade as Absa across its operations (currently branded Barclays) in Africa, pending shareholder and regulatory approval,” Ms Ramos disclosed to newsmen in Accra by telephone from Johannesburg, South Africa, when she presented the group’s financial results.
Information from Barclays Bank Ghana indicates that the name change of local operations will be effected in May this year after seeking shareholder approval.
“A special resolution to this effect will be included in the notice of annual general meeting (AGM) to be issued to shareholders of Barclays Africa Group on March 29, 2018, for the meeting on May 15, 2018,” source said.
Separation from Barclays PLC
This strategic decision comes after its parent firm, Barclays PLC, significantly sold down its stake in the group last year. Barclays PLC’s total interest in Barclays Africa is currently at 14.9 per cent from more than the 60 per cent it held two years ago.
Barclays has further indicated that the 14.9 per cent represents its desired long-term shareholding in Barclays Africa and that no further sales are planned at this time.
The Barclays name and brand has been a common feature in the countries where it has been operating for more than 90 years.
In Ghana, for instance, the bank has operated here under the Barclays brand for more than 100 years.
After sale by Barclays PLC of its majority interest in Africa, the latter agreed to cease to use the name and brand of the former.
Countries to be affected
Countries that will be affected by this decision are Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania and Zambia. They will have to change to a new identity, Absa, after they have secured the necessary approvals.
Ms Ramos noted that “the sell-down gave us the opportunity to roll out a brand that reflects our identity in Africa and to unite our operations in 10 countries behind one name”.
“We will be Absa, not as you know it, but relaunched, re-presented and with an identity fit for the new and forward-looking business we are creating.”
“We are resetting our business with a bold, new growth strategy that leverages our existing footprint and market insights.
The new identity is further evidence of the scale of the transformation and change in our business – a new brand for a new banking group,” she added.
For his part, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the group, Mr Peter Matlare, said Absa was currently the brand of the group’s South African business.
“The Absa brand has substantial equity as one of the largest banks in South Africa and enjoys recognition in many of the countries in which Barclays Africa operates under the Barclays brand currently,”he stated.
He indicated that the group had already undertaken extensive research internally and externally, in a process that included more than 130 000 conversations with employees and stakeholders about the brand and strategy of the group.
“The implementation of this decision necessitates that we take into account practical considerations and dynamics in each market so that it is as seamless as possible.”
He said the change would be rolled out in time, bearing in mind the mid-2020 rebranding deadline of the group.
“This transition will be undertaken with the utmost care,” he added.