Barclays to sell French operations to AnaCap Financial Partners

Barclays has agreed to sell its French retail, wealth management and life insurance operations to AnaCap Financial Partners, a private equity investor, completing the UK bank’s exit from consumer-facing activities in continental Europe.

The price to be paid for the operations, which includes 74 branches and about 1,000 staff, was not disclosed.

Barclays announced in April that it had entered exclusive talks to sell its French retail, wealth management and life insurance business to AnaCap. It will continue to offer corporate and investment banking services in France.

Barclays said the deal would reduce its risk-weighted assets by about £500m and cut costs by £130m in its noncore unit. The transaction is conditional on receiving regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed by June next year.

The bank has also sold several retail banking and credit card operations in Spain, Portugal and Italy, as well its wealth management operations in the US and Asia.

Earlier this year, a senior executive at Barclays alleged money laundering and mis-selling failures at the bank’s French operations, casting a shadow over the planned sale.

The Financial Times has seen a letter dated April 5 from Philippe Hébert, chief risk officer of Barclays France, to Tony Blanco, chief executive of Barclays France, alleging serious shortfalls in the bank’s standards of controls, compliance and conduct.

Jes Staley, Barclays chief executive, said: “This is another positive step in reducing our noncore unit, creating a more focused, simpler Barclays, and thereby releasing the strong performance of our core business. The agreement to sell our French business completes Barclays’ exit from retail banking in continental Europe.”

AnaCap specialises in investing in European financial services. Its banking investments include Aldermore in the UK, MeDirect in Belgium, Mediterranean Bank in Malta, Equa bank in the Czech Republic and Nest Bank in Poland. Two years ago, it completed the buyout of AssurOne Group, a French digital insurance broker.

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