Barclays’ workers block Zim unit sale


EMPLOYEES of Barclays Plc’s Zimbabwean unit have filed an urgent application seeking to stop the sale of the bank to First Merchant Bank Ltd of Malawi, or any other investor.

The workers are demanding the right of first refusal on the deal, according to court papers filed in the Harare’s High Court on May 22.

The sale needs to comply with laws aimed at encouraging local ownership, the employee group said.

London-based Barclays is reducing its operations in Africa as chief executive officer, Jes Staley, looks to support a trimmed-down investment bank focused on London and New York.

The giant lender is seeking to sell down its remaining 50.1 percent stake in Barclays Africa Group Ltd to less than 20 percent in order to deconsolidate the unit from its accounts, releasing capital that can be invested elsewhere in the business.

Talks between the London-based parent and its Johannesburg unit in which Barclays Africa would’ve bought the British lender’s Zimbabwean and Egyptian businesses failed in December 2015 because the  parties failed to agree on the price.

— Bloomberg.

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