Barclays in first-half loss after Africa sale
The banking group releases results for the first half of 2017, showing a loss mainly due to issues with its Africa business.
By Sharon Marris, Business Reporter
Barclays has posted a loss after tax of £1.21bn after the sale of part of its business in Africa.
The loss compares with the £1.1bn net profit it reported during the same six-month period last year.
However, if Africa-related issues are stripped away from the loss reported on Friday, the bank's pre-tax profit was up 13% year-on-year to £2.341bn.
The group reduced its stake in its African operations as part of a global re-think revealed last year – it recently sold 33.7% of Barclays Africa so it could focus on operations in Britain and the US.
In a statement, Barclays said the post-tax losses linked to the discontinued part of its Africa unit came in at nearly £2.2bn.
It retains about 15% in the business.
Also revealed in the results is an extra £700m to pay compensation claims for the mis-selling of payment protection insurance along with the bank's expectation that its overall performance will improve over the next two years due to a £1bn drop in costs.
The Bank of England recently warned about the risks to the UK economy posed by a rapid rise in consumer credit but Barclays chief executive Jes Staley said he was more worried about the recent drop in consumer confidence than he was about lending levels.
He said: "There are signs telling us to be cautious but we don't see things actually in the numbers that would raise any great concern.
"We are still very constructively engaged with the UK consumer and extending credit and we hope the UK economy continues to move forward."
Mr Staley said: "The Brexit negotiations are going to be very complex and we are going to be living with uncertainty for at least the next couple of years.
"Given that uncertainty, I think a lot of companies and businesses around the UK will have to start contingency plans early."
For its part, Barclays is understood to be adding 150 staff to its Dublin operation to respond to any Brexit-related disruption.
Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the banking group's results were "perplexing".
He said: "The sale of Barclays Africa and more PPI costs are the main culprits for the bank's woes so far in 2017.
"The market will be hoping for a bit more positive news in the remainder of the year, though conduct issues may well overshadow the bank's performance."