Africa's largest pension fund PIC seeks central bank approval to increase Barclays Africa stake

Africa’s biggest pension fund, Public Investment Corporation, has sought approval from South Africa‘s central bank to raise its stake in Barclays Africa, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Barclays Africa’s parent, Barclays Plc, wants to reduce its holding to below 20 percent, which would make it an equity investment rather than a subsidiary. The plan is part of a broader sale by the British bank of its African assets as it shifts to focus on the United States and Britain.

Public Investment Corporation (PIC), the second-biggest shareholder in Barclays Africa with a holding of about 7 percent, could buy at least an additional 31 percent stake, the sources indicated. They would not elaborate on the exact stake size or the timing or logistics of the purchase.

Under South African regulations PIC requires the central bank’s approval to raise its stake in Barclays Africa.

“PIC has always looked at Barclays Plc’s retreat as an opportunity to create a black-owned bank, but there aren’t many people with deep pockets to make that happen,” one of the sources said.

Read more: S. African pension fund seeks central bank approval to increase Barclays Africa stake: sources | Reuters