Barclays in big African merger

Barclays has started talks to combine all its operations in Africa into Absa, the South African bank listed in Johannesburg in which it holds a 55.5 per cent stake.

The move is a legacy of its former chief executive Bob Diamond, who resigned over the Libor rigging scandal but had always intended to create what he called "One Bank in Africa."

Barclays will inject its operations in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and the Indian Ocean into Absa.

That will create a bank which employs more than 8,000 people and has a network of more than 400 branches and 750 ATMs serving approximately 2.2 million customers. As at December 2011, the Barclays Africa businesses for the proposed combination had assets of approximately £6bn.