Maputo, Mozambique, 4 Dec – Banco Austral de Moçambique has changed its name to Barclays Bank Mozambique, the bank’s chief executive, Paul Nice, said in Maputo Monday.
The change of name follows the acquisition by Barclays of a 56 percent stake in South African group ABSA doe US$2.6 billion, in 2005.
As the ABSA group controlled 80 percent of Banco Austral, Barclays thus became the majority shareholder of the Mozambican bank.
Austral/Barclays has the second largest banking network in Mozambique, with 48 branches and 71 automatic teller machines (ATMs) at the end of 2006, although it is far from its main rival Millenium-BIM, which at the end of 2006 had 76 branches and 191 ATMs.
Saying that the bank would enter a phase of expansion, Nice noted that by the end of the year a further 10 branches would be opened, although these would be located only in the cities of Maputo and Matola.
At the end of the Mozambican civil war and under pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Mozambican government privatized 60 percent of a state bank to a Malaysian/Mozambican consortium, which was given the name Austral.
In the following three years, the bank almost went into bankruptcy due to poor management, and when further capital was required the shareholders simply returned their shares to the Mozambican state.
Later, 80 percent of Austral’s shares were sold to the ABSA group. (macauhub)