Barclays Africa Group shareholders have approved the lender’s planned change of name to Absa Group starting July.
This, in effect, sets in motion the start of the rebranding exercise for the bank’s subsidiaries across the continent.
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As part of the process, the new name must be registered by South Africa’s Companies and Intellectual Property Commission and be effective on July 11.
This means that the group’s share code on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange will change from BGA to ABG.
“This is the start of a brand journey that will galvanise our operations across Africa behind a single brand and purpose,” said Group Chairman Wendy Lucas-Bull in a statement yesterday.
However, this change will not happen at the same time as in its subsidiaries in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
They will continue to trade as ‘Barclays’ even after the group name changes to Absa in July.
The Barclays-branded banks in these countries will be re-branded at a later stage, subject to regulatory approvals for as long as it is within the mid-2020 deadline that was agreed with Barclays Plc. Following the sell-down by Barclays Plc of its majority shareholding in Barclays Africa Group to a minority position last year, the two companies are set to separate.
As part of the separation agreement, Barclays Africa Group will cease using the Barclays brand in Africa in 2020.
“We will in the future have a brand that is reflective of our African identity. This is an enormous opportunity as we create a banking group that Africa will be proud of,” said Lucas-Bull.
As part of its divestment from Barclays Africa from 62.32 per cent to 16.42 per cent, Barclays Plc had to part with £765 million (Sh104 billion) to fund the separating exercise, which will be invested primarily in rebranding, technology and separation-related projects.