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Barclays Africa Wins Regulatory Approval for Merger With Absa

July 22 (Bloomberg) -- Barclays Plc gained regulatory approval to merge its African operations with Absa Group Ltd., the South African bank in which it owns a controlling stake.

Absa will begin trading under Barclays Africa Group Ltd. in Johannesburg on Aug. 2 after regulators in countries including Kenya, Botswana and Ghana approved or waived the deal, the bank said today in a statement. The lender will retain the Absa name in South Africa.

“Africa remains a core focus for growth in Barclays’s global strategy,” Maria Ramos, Absa’s chief executive officer, said on a conference call with reporters. “This is very much part of fulfilling on that mandate.”

Barclays, Britain’s second-biggest bank by assets, and Absa announced the transaction in December and had to delay an earlier to plan to complete it in the first half of the year because of regulatory delays. Barclays will increase its stake in Absa to 62.3 percent from 55.5 percent in return for merging its operations across Africa with the Johannesburg-based lender.

The shares received by Barclays will be worth about 18.3 billion rand ($1.9 billion), the companies said in December. Barclays’s businesses in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia and its Barclays Africa regional office will move to Absa as part of the deal.

To contact the reporters on this story: Vernon Wessels in Johannesburg at vwessels@bloomberg.net; Kevin Crowley in Johannesburg at kcrowley1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vernon Wessels at vwessels@bloomberg.net

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