Barcleys PLC has decided to exit from Africa to refocus the bank on its core UK and US markets, the Financial Times said on Friday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The board has appointed a subcommittee to study the practicalities of how and when to sell Barclays Africa, the FT said.

Over the past century, Barclays has built one of the continent’s largest lenders, employing 44,000 staff and operating 1,267 branches. The business spans much of sub-Saharan Africa but its profits come mainly from its 62% stake in Absa bank in South Africa, according to the SundayTimes.

The process could take "months or years," unnamed source to the SundayTimes.

Barclays’ African business had 36 billion pounds ($54 billion/Sh5.5 trillion) of assets on a risk-adjusted basis and made a profit of 791 million pounds in the first nine months of this year, or 13 per cent of the bank’s core profits.