Barclays Africa is to change its brand name to Absa Group subject to the necessary regulatory and shareholder approval, Group Chief Executive, Maria Ramos, disclosed on Thursday.
“We’ll be Absa, not as you know it but re-launched, re-presented and with an identity fit for the new and forward-looking business we are creating,” Ramos said.
She told JoyBusiness’ George Wiafe that the move would also affect the Ghana unit and result in a name change.The change of name, she said, could take up to two years to be completed.
Maria Ramos said, “This is an exciting time for us. The sell-down has provided us with the headroom to reinvigorate our company while building on the proud heritage Barclays has in Africa.
We will work hard to deliver on our new strategy and to build our reputation as a bold, trusted, innovative and customer-focused brand. Barclays Africa group is building a scalable, digitally led business, passionate about innovation,” she said.
Absa is currently the brand of the Barclays Africa Group’s South African business. The Absa brand has substantial equity as one of the largest banks in South Africa and enjoys recognition in many of the countries in which Barclays Africa operates under the Barclays brand currently.
Barclays Africa Group undertook extensive research internally and externally, in a process that included more than 130,000 conversations with employees and stakeholders about the brand and strategy of the Group.
“The implementation of this decision necessitates that we take into account practical considerations and dynamics in each market so that it is as seamless as possible. The change will be rolled out in time bearing in mind the mid-2020 rebranding deadline. This transition will be undertaken with the utmost care,” said Peter Matiare, Deputy CEO.
Barclays Africa Group, has released its first annual financial results since the successful conclusion of the reduction by Barclays PLC of its majority shareholding in Barclays Africa Group last year.
The Group reported a 4% increase in headline earnings in 2017 as impairments declined substantially from a high base in 2016. Return on equity of 16.4% remains strong.
Headline earnings, a measure analyst used to gauge profitability, grew despite the continued slow economic expansion in some of the Group’s largest markets, including South Africa, where the Group generates approximately 80% of its income.
Barclays Africa Group continues to have solid balance sheet assets of R1.2 trillion and strong capital and liquidity levels – these are measures of the strength of buffers banks have in place to protect customer deposits.