FMB in talks to buy Zimbabwe’s Barclays

Malawi’s First Merchant Bank (FMB) is in exclusive discussions to buy the Zimbabwean unit of Barclays Bank, Malawi24 has learnt.

FMB said in a statement on its website it is in exclusive talks to buy out the 68 percent of Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe which are owned by the British company.

The remaining 32 percent of Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe’s shares are traded on the Zimbabwe stock exchange.

“FMB is engaged in exclusive discussions with Barclays Bank PLC (“BB PLC”), in relation to the potential acquisition of its interests in Barclays Bank Zimbabwe Limited (“BBZ”).

FMB eyes the Barclays Bank.

“Discussions with BB PLC are ongoing and may or may not result in the announcement of a transaction involving the acquisition by FMBCH of the interest of BB PLC in BBZ,” said part of a statement signed by FMB company secretary Oswald Mtokale.

The bank however warned that the transaction if completed would be subject to obtaining approval of the banking regulators in Malawi and Zimbabwe.

FMB did not disclose a value for the prospective deal but according to Thomson Reuters data Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe has a market capitalisation of $60 million,

Barclays previously said it was looking to sell the stake as part of a broader exit from Africa announced a year ago when Chief Executive Jes Staley said the lender would instead focus on a transatlantic strategy in the United States and Britain.

Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe is one of two banks together with Barclays Bank Egypt that do not form part of the lender’s South Africa-based Barclays Africa Group, which is also up for sale.