Barclays Said to Weigh Sale of Egyptian Unit Amid Bank Overhaul

  • Egypt business said to be attractive to domestic buyers
  • Egypt unit has 1,500 employees and network of 56 branches

Barclays Plc is considering selling its Egyptian unit after abandoning a plan to fold it into its Africa business, according to people with knowledge of the plan.

The unit, whose presence in Egypt dates back to 1864, may be worth more than $500 million, according to one person familiar, who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public. No final decision has been made on a sale, which may attract domestic buyers from the region, the people said. Joanne Walia, a spokeswoman for Barclays in London, declined to comment.

Barclays Africa Group Ltd., the Johannesburg-based lender controlled by Barclays, said in December that talks to buy Egyptian and Zimbabwean operations from the parent failed because they couldn’t agree on a price. Barclays owns 62 percent of Barclays Africa, whose stock trades in South Africa.

Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley, seeking to focus on the most profitable businesses in the U.K. and the U.S., is weighing whether to keep emerging-market businesses amid concerns over slowing economic growth. The bank will separately debate the future of its Africa business at meetings starting on Wednesday in London, with options including a sale of the entire stake, people familiar said earlier on Wednesday.

Barclays may decide to sell part of Barclays Bank Egypt S.A.E. including the real estate business, according to one person. The unit, which employs 1,500 people, has 56 branches in cities including Cairo, Giza and Alexandria with a focus on retail banking, according to its website.

The bank agreed to sell its retail banking business in the U.A.E to Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC for 650 million dirhams ($177 million) in 2014.

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