Barclays (FTSE:BARC) the UK banking group has announced it has agreed to sell its French retail banking unit to AnaCap Financial partners for an undisclosed sum.
The company announced in April that it was in talks to release its French consumer operations. This latest sale to AnaCap Financial Partners is further evidence of the company’s desire to increasingly bring focus on its core businesses.
The deal will help to reduce its risk-weighted assets by around £500m. In addition it is expected to cut costs by over £130m in its noncore unit.
The sale includes 74 retail banking branches and the associated insurance and wealth management business. It marks the company’s complete exit from consumer banking in Europe. It will however retain its investment banking arms across the continent. The deal remains subject to regulator approval.
Commenting on the latest announcement, Barclays Chef Executive Jes Staley acknowledged that this was another step towards “creating a more focused, simpler Barclays, and thereby releasing the strong performance of our core business.”
The latest news comes on the back of a series of asset disposal across its continental European operations. These include sales of its credit card operations in Spain and Portugal. Outside of Europe the company has reduced its stake in Barclays Africa and also disposed of interests in Egypt, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Barclays reported increased profits in its third quarter results. Figures excluding notable items rose to £1.17bn which was above analysts’ forecasts. They were also higher than the previous year’s figures. Profits over the same quarter in 2015 stood at £1.4bn. Much of the increase was attributed to better performance from its fixed income investment division.
Share is Barclays have had a good run over the course of the year. While initially dropping to a low of £1.20 per share on UK referendum fears they have since made a strong recovery.
This latest news saw shares in the bank open at £2.32 today on the London stock exchange. This puts the stock near to its high for the year.
As banking stocks continue to recover and markets stabilise after this year’s risk-on events, there could be potential for further gains to be seen.