Barclays Africa to become Absa Group after shareholders approve name change

Barclays Africa Group Ltd shareholders on Tuesday approved that the group changes its name to Absa Group Limited in July, setting in motion the start of one of Africa’s largest re-brand projects.

“The vote in support of our name change in July marks another milestone in our separation from Barclays PLC to become an independent African bank with global reach,” said Wendy Lucas-Bull, chairman of Barclays Africa Group Ltd.

“This is the start of a brand journey that will galvanise our operations across Africa behind a single brand and purpose.”

The name change is a result of the sell-down by Barclays PLC of its majority shareholding in Barclays Africa Group to a minority position in 2017, separating the two companies.

As part of the separation agreement, Barclays Africa Group will cease using the Barclays brand in Africa in 2020.

According to a statement released by Barclays Africa, “the group’s Barclays-branded banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia will continue to trade as ‘Barclays’ even after the group name changes to Absa in July.”

It adds that the Barclays-branded banks in those countries will be rebranded at a later stage, subject to local regulatory approvals.

A statement released by the group to shareholders in March said the Barclays brand will only be used in the rest of Africa up to 6 June 2020, subject to “an additional two-year runoff period in respect of debit and credit cards.”

The group’s new name must be registered by South Africa’s Companies and Intellectual Property Commission. The name change is expected to be effective on 11 July 2018. The group’s share code on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) will change from BGA to ABG on 11 July.

“The group name change will not affect the functionality of Absa or Barclays products and services in Africa,” Barclays Africa Group said.

“We will in the future have a brand that is reflective of our African identity – this as an enormous opportunity as we create a banking group that Africa will be proud of,” Ms Lucas-Bull said.