Barclays committed to South African subsidiary

Barclays Plc chief executive officer, John Varley, said the United Kingdom-based bank is committed to its South African subsidiary, Absa Group Ltd, which it bought for $4.48 billion in 2005.

John Varley

John Varley

Bloomberg News last week quoted Varley saying the following: “I’m giving you our strategic commitment to the country of South Africa and to our investment in South Africa and that commitment is absolute. You don’t make an investment of this magnitude and take a short-term view.”

According to some analysts, Absa has not performed adequately over the past five years and Barclays may be looking at selling its 54% stake.

In a separate interview, Absa deputy chief executive officer, Louis von Zeuner, admitted that “everything’s not rosy”. He said that there are areas where Absa should have made more progress, including credit cards, wealth management and expansion into the rest of Africa.