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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 September, 2004, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Barclays looks to buy Absa stake
Barclays bank sign
The deal would boost Barclay's Africa business
UK lender Barclays is in talks with South Africa's Absa about buying a majority stake in the bank.

The move would "immediately" boost earnings and profit, and "enhance the bank's existing successful African operations", Barclays said.

It will not need to issue new shares to finance the purchase.

South Africa is seen as having large potential for growth as much of its population still do not have either bank accounts or credit cards.

The talks are still at an early stage and may not lead to an offer being made, Barclays said.

"These discussions have not reached a stage which requires a formal approach to the relevant regulators" and "may or may not lead to a transaction being agreed", the UK bank said in a statement.

Absa is one of South Africa's biggest business banks.

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