Barclays Bank Seychelles prepares for name change to Absa |12 October 2019
Barclays Bank Seychelles is preparing to change to Absa Bank Seychelles. As part of its preparations, it is taking a sequenced approach to its change plans.
Some branches will start to reflect several elements of the new brand before others. The first branch that will see the first physical change from Barclays blue to Absa red is the Market Street branch in Victoria as of today.
Even though some branches will start to look like Absa, it will continue to operate and trade as Barclays Bank Seychelles until its name officially changes.
The bank has several legal and regulatory milestones to achieve before the official name change date can be announced.
As part of its rebranding process, the Barclays Bank Seychelles management team organised a media engagement event at Eden Bleu hotel yesterday to ensure that journalists and media stakeholders are better informed about the change.
The name change in Seychelles is part of a broader, multi-country rebrand programme, scheduled to be completed by mid-2020. The rebrand is in line with Barclays Bank Seychelles’ parent company Absa Group’s 2018 decision to rebrand all operations across the continent to Absa in a carefully managed programme that involves ongoing engagement and close co-operation with the relevant regulatory authorities.
“In 2018, our parent company Absa Group announced a decision to rebrand all our operations across the continent to Absa. While Barclays continues to have a significant stake in Absa Group at 14.9% stake, it is no longer our majority shareholder, and the group has undergone an extensive managed separation process to detach its operations in Africa from those of Barclays PLC,” said Johan Van Schalkwyk, managing director of Barclays Bank Seychelles.
Absa Group Limited is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in South Africa. It is one of Africa’s largest diversified financial services groups, offering an integrated set of products and services across personal and business banking, corporate and investment banking, wealth and investment management and insurance. The group has a presence in 12 African countries and an international representative office in London. It has almost 40,000 employees, more than 1,000 branches, and approximately 10,000 ATMs.
The group’s registered head office is in Johannesburg, South Africa, and it owns majority stakes in banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa (Absa Bank), Tanzania (Barclays Bank Tanzania and National Bank of Commerce), Uganda and Zambia. The group also has representative offices in Namibia and Nigeria, as well as insurance operations in Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia, and an international representative office in London.
“Even though our name has not yet changed from Barclays Bank Seychelles, we will begin to prepare for the change by introducing Absa’s warm, vibrant red colour palette in some of our assets, given the significant size of the rebrand task ahead. This will include bank branches and ATMs and will ensure we are fully ready by the time our legal name changes,” said Mr Van Schalkwyk.
All customer services will continue as usual throughout the brand change process, and customers will not be required to take any action during this period. Barclays Bank Seychelles will not ask any customer for additional information during this period and all bank records will remain the same before and after the transition.
Absa brand transition timeline
- March 1, 2016: Barclays PLC announces that it will reduce its ownership of Barclays Africa Group Limited (Barclays Bank Seychelles’ parent company, now called Absa Group Limited) from 62.3% to a minority shareholding, over time. This comes as global bank regulations tighten after the 2008 financial crisis, making it less attractive for international banks to own stakes in banks abroad.
- May 5, 2016: The first tranche of shares (12.2%) is successfully sold through an accelerated book build, reducing Barclays PLC shareholding in the group to 50.1%.
- May 31, 2017: Barclays PLC further reduces its shareholding to 23.4% through the largest book-build in South African history, demonstrating exceptionally strong demand among local and international investors to own shares in Absa Group (then Barclays Africa Group).
- September 2017: Barclays PLC transfers 1.5% of its stake in the group to an interim structure created by Barclays Africa Group for the purposes of a broad-based black economic empowerment scheme, reducing its shareholding to 21.9%. This scheme is to be announced at a later stage.
- December 1, 2017: Barclays PLC announces that the 7% stake set aside earlier for South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation (PIC) was transferred to two financial institutions, until the PIC achieves regulatory approval to take up its stake in Barclays Africa Group. The transfer signals the conclusion of PLC’s sell-down, leaving the UK company with a 14.9% stake in the Group. Barclays PLC indicates that this is its long-term desired ownership level, and says that it does not plan to effect further sales at this time.
- March to June 2018: Barclays Africa Group announces new group strategy focused on growth, of which Absa Regional Operations (the division in which Barclays Bank Seychelles falls) is crucial.
- July 2018: The group’s name is changed to Absa Group Limited, and the decision to change all owned subsidiary names to ‘Absa’ is announced, and a refreshed brand is unveiled in South Africa.
- 2019: The bank has several legal and regulatory milestones to achieve before the official name change date can be announced.
- June 2020: By then, Absa Group’s multi-country rebrand programme should be completed, as per the group’s agreement with Barclays PLC.