Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC), whose shareholding in Barclays Africa will rival that of the bank’s largest shareholder after the pension-fund manager obtains regulatory approval, is not expected to nominate directors to the bank’s board and push for greater transformation.

This comes after Barclays Africa was criticised roundly for failing to promote the highly regarded Phakamani Hadebe, its corporate and business bank’s head of client services, to the top job at the unit in May, restructuring it instead into two main lines of businesses reporting to David Hodnett, its deputy CEO responsible for the South African retail and business bank.

The group has four black executives on its 11-member executive committee, including deputy CEO for the rest of Africa Peter Matlare, and Nomkhita Nqweni, head of its wealth, investment management, and insurance unit.

The PIC acted as the anchor investor, promising to take on 7% of the shares in an overnight accelerated book-build process on Wednesday night, in which Barclays plc, the bank’s British parent and largest investor, sold shares equal to 33.7% of the African bank’s issued share capital, raising about R37.7bn.

The shares were sold at R132 a share, which was a 5% discount to the group’s share at the close of the markets on Wednesday afternoon.

Barclays plc is warehousing the PIC’s shares, which will take its shareholding in the bank to more than 14%, until it obtains regulatory approval in Kenya, Mauritius and the Seychelles.

After the PIC takes its share, Barclays plc’s interest in the group’s issued share capital will drop to 16.4%. About 1.5% is reserved as the British bank’s contribution towards the African group’s broad-based black economic empowerment scheme.

"Barclays Africa’s memorandum of incorporation, as approved by its shareholders, does not provide for any entrenched rights in favour of any shareholder/s to appoint directors to the company," said a spokesman on behalf of Barclays CEO Maria Ramos.

"Such appointments are considered by the board and then confirmed by shareholders at the next AGM. While the envisaged increase of [the] PIC’s shareholding from about 7% to about 14% is indeed significant, we do not expect to appoint a PIC representative to the board."

Barclays plc has three directors on the Barclays Africa board: Ashok Vaswani, head of Barclays UK, Mark Merson, its former deputy group financial director, and group treasurer Daniel Hodge.

"Barclays plc will have board representation, but on a reducing basis as specifically provided in the separation arrangements," said the spokesman.

"As of [Wednesday] with a shareholding above 50%, Barclays plc was entitled to three director nominees. Their entitlement reduces as they drop to below 50%. Once at a 20% shareholding, they will be entitled to one director nominee, and any entitlement to a director nominee falls away at an
8% shareholding."

There was no immediate comment from the PIC.

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