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THE YCEO: Barclays Bank Ghana targets acquisitions as it rebrands

Barclays Bank has disclosed to Citi Business News plans to undertake major acquisitions in the country as it rebrands to Absa by June 2020.

Managing Director of the Bank, Patience Akyianu explains that her outfit has already begun talks with regulators and shareholders ahead of the move.

Barclays Africa Group last week announced that it is seeking regulatory approval to change its name to Absa Group that could affect its operations in Ghana.

The decision is part of separation arrangement after Barclays PLC ceded parts of its shares in its Africa operations.

Patience Akyianu tells Citi Business News the bank is going to be more entrepreneurial in its new approach.

“It is part of our new approach towards doing business to be entrepreneurial; so as part of our key execution priorities for Ghana in 2018, we are looking for the right acquisition targets to purchase. But there may not be an immediate need to sell or buy anything but we are on the market looking for the right target.”

Madam Akyianu added, “This branch change is not expected to directly lead to employing more. We are always reviewing our operating model to make sure that it is suited and it will help us to deliver on our strategies. So as and when that is required, we will make the right decision.”

The reduction of Barclays Plc’s stake in its Africa operations has been viewed by some as impacting on the prospects of the bank’s operations across the continent.

But responding to the impact on Barclays Bank Ghana, the Barclays Bank MD has also ruled out any impact of the change in name on the bank’s Ghana operations.

“While we remain very much an African brand, rooted in Africa with an African heritage, we actually will aim to have global connections, so we are in the process of setting up offices in the UK, in London and in New York as well and we will continue to look globally at the right locations to position ourselves to be able to help our customers to transact business across the globe,” she assured.

“In addition to that, we are going to invest heavily into technology so we will be a modern innovative digitally led brand and ultimately, our customers will experience better service from us. It is not the name per se; it is the quality of service that is being received from us and let me assure you that will be much better,” she added.

Financial results for 2017

The Group reported a 4% increase in headline earnings in 2017 as impairments declined substantially from a high base in 2016.

Return on equity of 16.4% remains strong.

Headline earnings, a measure analysts use to gauge profitability, grew despite the continued slow economic expansion in some of the Group’s largest markets, including South Africa, where the Group generates approximately 80% of its income.

Barclays Africa Group continues to have solid balance sheet assets of R1.2 trillion and strong capital and liquidity levels – these are measures of the strength of buffers banks have in place to protect customer deposits.

According to the bank, its Africa Group’s separation from Barclays PLC is progressing well and the parties continue to work together to ensure a seamless separation.

By: Pius Amihere Eduku/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana

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