June 23, 2015 / 9:59 AM / in 2 years

Barclays in talks to sell private equity unit to management: source

A Barclays bank office is seen at Canary Wharf in London, Britain May 19, 2015.Suzanne Plunkett

LONDON (Reuters) - British banking group Barclays (BARC.L) is in talks to sell its natural resources-focused private equity business to the unit's management, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Barclays Natural Resource Investments (BNRI) has committed $3 billion to 28 companies since its launch in 2006, according to its website.

Barclays last year put BNRI into its book of businesses that it intended to sell or run down, saying it was not strategically important for the bank.

The business focuses on upstream oil and gas, upstream mining, associated services businesses, and power and renewables.

It has offices in London, New York and Doha. One of its managing directors is Mark Brown, who joined Barclays in 1998 and founded BNRI eight years later and is responsible for setting the investment strategy.

Brown could not be reached for immediate comment.

BNRI's investments include UK North Sea gas developer Third Energy, Canadian metals miner BMC and Australian oil and gas developer Hydra Energy.

Barclays is aiming to shrink its balance sheet as part of a plan to cut costs, simplify its business and improve returns for shareholders.

Sky News earlier reported the talks about the BNRI management buyout were at an advanced stage and a deal was likely to be concluded this year.

Reporting by Steve Slater; editing by Jason Neely

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