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Barclays slashes stake in South African unit

British banking giant Barclays said Thursday it has further reduced its stake in its South African operations as part of a global strategic re-think unveiled last year.

Barclays said in a statement that it had placed a stake of 33.7 percent in Barclays Africa with institutional investors, raising some £2.224 billion (2.5 billion euros, $2.9 billion).

Barclays, which has decided to focus on its two core markets of Britain and the United States, now holds a stake of just 16.4 percent in the unit.

It does want to pull out completely, however, and will hold on to a stake of 15 percent, it said.

Barclays Africa, which is listed on the Johannesburg stock exchange and is present in around 10 countries, has declined in value in recent months, against the backdrop of the political crisis in South Africa.

The British bank was compelled to make a writedown of around £900 million on the unit in its first-quarter accounts.

–AFP