Malawian bank snaps up Barclays Zim

BARCLAYS Plc has sold its majority stake in its Zimbabwean operation to Malawi’s First Merchant Bank (FMB), putting an end to months of a fierce bidding war to take over one of the country’s iconic financial institutions.

By Bernard Mpofu


Informed sources involved in the transaction yesterday revealed that Barclays Plc and FMB directors sealed the deal in London yesterday after months of negotiations.

Barclays Plc and FMB directors and managers then flew to Harare via Johannesburg, South Africa, for meetings with Barclays Bank Zimbabwe managers and employees, as well as Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe officials.

“It’s a done deal,” an informed source said.

“It was signed in London yesterday (Tuesday),” a source revealed yesterday.

“Barclays Plc and FMB managers have just arrived in Harare for meetings to finalise the transaction pending regulatory approvals.”

Barclays Bank Zimbabwe will this afternoon issue a cautionary statement to the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE).

The deal was expected to be officially announced to Barclays Bank Zimbabwe managers and workers at around 5pm yesterday in a “town hall arrangement” at the bank’s headquarters in Harare.

However, reports indicated that the Barclays takeover by Malawi’s FMB faces resistance amid accusations that formalities have not been followed through.

Finance ministry officials and those from the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board yesterday said while Barclays and FMB have agreed in principle, they were yet to fulfil local requirements.

After news of the takeover leaked yesterday, workers said they were worried that Barclays Plc and FMB have gone ahead to announce the conclusion of the deal before the courts have ruled on their application against the takeover.

Both workers and managers have approached the High court demanding to be given the right of first refusal.

The government has in the past blocked Barclays from selling its custodial business to another foreign based financial institution after it announced the deal before clearing withy regulatory authorities.

The government was annoyed by the conduct and refused to approve the transaction. There are also issues to do with due diligence, which the central bank appear to have ignored, which it is feared could affect the integrity of the bank.

There are reports that some FMB directors were embroiled in allegations of financial irregularities in Uganda and Malawi resulting in the collapse of Crane Bank in Kampala, rendering over 300 workers jobless.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (Zibawu) said it was carrying out background checks on the entity utilising its sister unions in the region.

“We have also been in constant discussion with the regulatory authority, RBZ about the transaction,” Zibawu secretary-general, Peter Mutasa said.

“We are also discussing with Barclays Bank Plc, through our structure, the workers committee focusing on securing workers’ rights and interests. Our focus is on the preservation of jobs, security of pensions, Empowerment employee share ownership scheme and the payment of reasonable gratuities.”

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed Barclays Zimbabwe has been operating in the country since 1912 and currently employs over 1 000 employees

Barclays Bank Zimbabwe was established in 1912, and has operated in the country since then, making it a landmark feature on the local financial services landscape.

The bank, listed on the ZSE, has more than 1 000 employees and a countrywide network of 38 branches in the main urban areas.

Barclays Bank Plc, which held 67,68% shareholding in the local unit, last year announced it was disposing of its African assets, including in Zimbabwe, to focus on British and American markets.

Barclays Bank Zimbabwe, alongside the Egyptian business, was not part of the 2013 deal that saw Barclays Africa, formerly Absa, acquire eight African operations from its parent company due to high local political risk.

In February last year, Barclays Plc announced it would conclude negotiations on the pull-out by June this year.
This triggered a stampede for Barclays Bank Zimbabwe.

A number of bidders had been scrambling to acquire the bank since that time.

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  1. Tose ku StanChart and Standic, Barclays is now another Metropolitan.

  2. OH my God let me transfer my few zim bond notes to another bank as a matter of urgency

  3. Reality Check

    Shame…. MaChina mu Diamond, Mamalawi muma Banks…… These are definately signs of the times.

  4. This is a clear indication that RBZ is another hip of shit, why would they allow that deal to go ahead given the fact that FMB is owned by thieves. Anyway, thieves will always accommodate each other.As for me, I say good bye to my Barclays account.

  5. Haa pakaipa pakaipa

  6. Aphiri wa bwino

    Congrats to FMB Malawi, nothing wrong here with what they did. Our own Strive Masiyiwa is snappig up equity in various companies across Africa! Kwese Tv is now kwese kwese in Africa except Zimbabwe. All is in order and we wish Abwino well in Zim, dai ari murungu murikupenga here? Lets support daughters and sons of Africa-great deal!

    1. Nothing wrong??????????People r already closing their Barclays Accounts

    2. madzimba chengeta

      well said bro…it’s very fine when we do like Strive etc but if others buy from us we complain…

  7. Very soon Barclays atms will be giving out Kwachas

  8. Oh my God Zim company now being bought nema Nyasaland yoweeeeee

  9. I do not see this deal going through.Where is the 51% local content?

    1. $15 billion pfacha ne back door. It’s Mugabe promoting wekumusha.

  10. Tawanda Shumba

    The 51% issue does not exist its only on paper. The fairest thing is for Barclays to pay packages and the new employer should come up with a new deal and contracts. The Chinese have cheated us left right and centre.

  11. KKKKKKKK welcome my brothers from my fatherland, lots of opportunities here in harriri, please employ us first, we of the nyasaland origin, we homeboys neh. these guys made us to do citizenship renunciation gcekeza yet they are dead broke they cant buy a bank. welcome achimwene its about time you were here. The population of us from blessed country will be enough business if they boycott!!!

  12. gabarinocheka

    Ko vedu veempowerment neindigenisation vakasara papi kurega banga richienda kuNyasaland?

  13. Haaa huyai mese kuEcobank

  14. But why and damn you old Robert and this shows that you have really destroyed the country. Out of the banks , you cannot afford to lose Barclay

  15. my bank!!!!!

  16. lets give them the benefit of the doubt guys thinks myt work but just make sure hamuna mari yakawanda chete

  17. 51% local content dsnt apply in Banking Sector, Barclay’s Bank Zimbabwe was bound to collapse if it was bought by Zimbabwean

  18. A bad investment decision by Malawians. What sort of business do they hope to generate in Zimbaremahwe

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