9 Feb 2009

Barclays reports good start to year

9:25 pm on 9 February 2009

British bank Barclays reported a 2008 profit of Stg 6.1 billion, ahead of analysts' forecasts but was down 14% on the year after Stg 5 billion of writedowns.

Barclays said it expected 2009 to be "another challenging year" with credit market losses set to shrink but bad debt charges likely to rise as recession takes its toll on the economy.

However, it said it had had "a good start to the year", with the performance of its Barclays Capital investment bank arm "extremely strong", and that it plans to restart paying dividends in the second half of this year.

Barclays' 2008 pre-tax profit was down from Stg 7.1 billion in 2007 but ahead of an average forecast of Stg 5.8 billion.

The figure included Stg 8 billion in gross writedowns and bad debts, or a Stg 5 billion net writedown after gains on the valuation of debt it carries on its books.

Profit included Stg 2.4 billion in gains on acquisitions, most related to its purchase of Lehman Brothers' United States business.