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Sunday 24th of January 2010
August 3, 2009    

Barclays upbeat about future as profits soar

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by Kay Murchie

Banking giant Barclays, which has so far turned down financial help from the Government, has today announced pre-tax profits of £2.98 billion for the first six months of the year.

While the bank’s profits came slightly under analysts’ forecasts of over £3 billion, they were up 8% compared with the same period a year earlier.

Unlike its rivals, Barclays has so far avoided financial assistance from the Government, opting to go it alone last year by raising billions of pounds from investors in the Middle East.

In the meantime, for the first time, over half of Barclays’ income (51%) came from overseas.

According to the bank, it has acquired more investment banking clients due to the acquisition of some Lehman Brothers businesses last year which has enhanced the bank’s presence in the US, with the US now making up about 40% of its income.

Profits at Barclays’ UK retail banking arm plummeted from £690 million a year ago to £268 million.

However, John Varley, the bank’s chief executive, said he was upbeat on the bank’s prospects for the remainder of 2009.

“The investments we have made, particularly in our international businesses, are driving very strong income performance and allowing us to absorb the consequences of the economic downturn,” said Mr Varley.

“Our goal for 2009 is very clear: we seek to deliver another year of solid profitability. Our first half performance is a good start to this,” he added.

Finally, rival bank, HSBC is due to release its figures later today with analysts forecasting a rise in profits. Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group are set to announce figures later this week.

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