Japanese bank sells £260m of Barclays stake

 
Tim Wallace
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SUMITOMO Bank yesterday sold half of its Barclays’ stake, a holding it acquired at the height of the credit crunch.

It is the latest in a run of foreign investors who have taken profits from the investments they made when the bank raised funds to shore up its position in the financial crisis.

The £260.7m sale, which was completed just before the stock market opened yesterday, helped to push down the stock price, leaving Barclays’ shares down 3.73 per cent on the day at 304.5p.

Sumitomo bought 160m shares in 2008 at 296p, a £500m investment in total.

The sale leaves them with just under half of that stake left, amounting to around 0.6 per cent of Barclays’ shares. Sumitomo made a profit of roughly £10.7m on this sale.

Barclays said at the time of the fundraising Sumitomo’s investment would open the door to closer cooperation between the banks, and in July 2010 they set up a joint private banking venture with Nikko Cordial Securities for wealthy customers in Japan, called SMBC Barclays Wealth Division.

Sumitomo said the share sale would have no impact on its business cooperation with Barclays.

The bank’s biggest shareholder is Qatar which holds 814m shares, equivalent to 6.33 per cent of Barclays, according to data from Morningstar.

The third largest stake is that of Sheikh Mansour, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family with 758.4m shares, amounting to a 6.19 per cent stake.

Both Qatar and Abu Dhabi contributed to the £7.3bn fundraising round in 2008, and both have begun to sell down their stakes.

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund sold the remainder of its warrants for Barclays stock late last year, instruments which gave it the right to purchase shares at a price below the current market level.

And Sheikh Mansour has now offloaded much of his stake in the bank through a hedging deal with Japanese bank Nomura.