Barclays Africa Group Ltd shareholders today approved that the group changes its name to Absa Group Limited in July, setting in motion the start of one of the largest re-brand projects in Africa at this time.
As part of the process, the new name must be registered by South Africa’s Companies and Intellectual Property Commission. In accordance with the timetable that we have shared with our shareholders, the name change is expected 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 functionality of Absa or Barclays products and services in 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. The Barclays-branded banks in these countries will be rebranded at a later stage, subject to regulatory approvals in those markets.
Founded in 1991, Absa is amalgamation of various financial service providers including United Bank (South Africa), the Allied Bank (South Africa), the Volkskas Bank Group and certain interests of the Sage Group. The following year, Absa acquired the entire shareholding of the Bankorp Group which included Trustbank, Senbank and Bankfin, thereby extending its asset base further.
However, each of the banks operated as independent entities until 1998 when they were fused into a single brand, adopting Absa as a brand identity.
In May 2005, UK’s Barclays purchased 56.4% stake in Absa as part of its drive to expand its global product and international retail and commercial banking businesses to untapped markets outside the UK.
It was also a return to the South African banking market, 20 years after being forced out by the anti-apartheid protesters. Barclays called the transaction at the time as its largest investment outside the UK and the largest ever direct foreign investment in South Africa.