VENTURES AFRICA - British bank Barclays Plc has revealed acquisition plans as it looks set acquire 49.9 percent stake in Namibia’s Bank Windhoek, Ebson Uanguta, the central bank’s deputy governor told reporters on Thursday.
The proposed deal will give the British lender a presence in the south-western African country. Although the value of the potential deal has not been determined as Barclays was yet to open talks with the Bank Windhoek.
According to Uanguta, the central bank has given “approval for potential acquisition of Bank Windhoek by Barclays”. However, Barclays will “continue with its due diligence and enter into price negotiations”.
Uanguta also said Bank Windhoek, which is the second-largest commercial bank in the country, in terms of asset base, will list the remaining shares on that country’s bourse following the acquisition.
Bank Windhoek Limited reported a net profit after tax of 160 million Namibian dollars ($19 million) in the six months ended 31 December 2011.
Barclays attempt to enter the country comes two years after the Namibian central bank blocked its South African unit Absa Group Ltd from taking at least 70 percent in the same bank, citing concern about foreign dominance in the industry.
The Bank of Namibia (BON), however, said a minority investment by Absa might receive regulatory approval.
Uanguta guaranteed a drop in foregin shareholding in favour of indigenous ownership. He said the bank was already in talks with other South African lenders to cut their holdings in domestic banks in favour of local ownership.
South African banks have substantial presence in Namibia, with Standard Bank, FNB Namibia and Nedbank well represented in the country’s banking sector.
Bank Windhoek is one of the five commercial banks licensed to operate in the Southern African country, A relatively large financial services provider offering a range of service from retail banking, corporate banking, finance trade, mortgage services and microfinance funding, among other products.
As of June 2010, the bank had an asset base in excess of $2 billion.