Barclays loss doubles, to sell African bank unit stake
British bank Barclays on Tuesday said net losses more than doubled last year and announced plans to gradually reduce its majority stake in the group’s African unit.
Barclays also said it would split the company overall into two units, Barclays UK and Barclays Corporate and International, as it undergoes major restructuring under new chief chief executive Jes Staley.
“We are today announcing our intention to sell down our 62.3-percent interest in our African business, BAGL, over the coming two to three years,” Barclays said in a statement and revealed annual losses after tax of £394 million ($549 million, 505 million euros) for the bank as a whole.
The 2015 net loss — against the £174 million posted a year earlier — was largely the result of money set aside to compensate customers mis-sold a controversial insurance product, or PPI.
Barclays is facing major changes under Staley, an American who began his role in December.
Staley has been tasked with restoring the bank’s battered reputation caused by a series of scandals including the rigging of foreign exchange and Libor interest rate markets.
Barclays is meanwhile axing thousands of jobs as it seeks to slash costs.
A new round of cuts was revealed in January, with Barclays announcing plans to shed 1,200 positions at its investment banking division, alongside news that it was exiting Russia and closing offices across Asia.
Barclays is one of several banks implementing job cuts amid a tough investment climate as slowing global growth and stricter capital rules affect lenders.
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