Barclays full-year profits almost treble to £3.2bn

Barclays half year profits fell 21%Image copyright
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Barclays has reported a jump in annual profits after making “strong progress” in restructuring.

The bank reported a profit before tax of £3.2bn for 2016, up from £1.1bn the year before.

Its reorganisation has included the sale of its Africa business.

Barclays has also been selling off other parts of the business which the bank deems “non-core”, and it said it would bring forward the closure of the unit dealing with this by six months.

Chief executive Jes Staley said in a statement that the “non-core” unit would close on 30 June.

“We are now just months away from completing the restructuring of Barclays, and I am more optimistic than ever for our prospects in 2017, and beyond,” Mr Staley said.

Dividend boost?

Mr Staley told the BBC the bank was preparing to add hundreds of staff to offices in Dublin, Frankfurt and Milan to counter Brexit risks to its European business.

While he expects the majority of staff to remain in London, changes to the bank’s legal structure, including making Dublin the headquarters of its European business, may be necessary.

BBC business editor Simon Jack said that a return to profit and higher levels of shock absorbing capital meant Barclays hoped to increase its dividend later this year.

Media captionBrexit: Barclays ‘committed to London’

Barclays said its core capital ratio, a key measure of financial strength, rose to 12.4% in 2016, which was better than analysts’ expectations of 11.8%.

A rise in interest rates in the US and UK would boost Barclays’ profit margins, but Mr Staley warned that rising inflation may begin to dent consumer confidence.

Africa business

Meanwhile, Barclays has agreed to pay Barclays Africa 12.8 billion rand (£790m) to fund investments required to separate it from its African unit, Barclays Africa said.

The separation agreement will let Barclays reduce its stake in the Africa business to below 50% as part of a strategy to focus on the US and the UK.

Barclays Africa said the money would be used to invest in technology, rebranding and other projects related to the separation.



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