UK Bank Barclays Back in Black in First Half


British bank Barclays said Thursday that it returned to net profit in the first half of 2018, after logging a loss last time on the sale of its Africa division.

Earnings after taxation stood at £468 million ($614 million, 525 million euros) in the six months to the end of June, Barclays said in a results statement.

That contrasted with a net loss of £1.21 billion in the same part of 2017.

Pre-tax profit however sank almost a third to £1.7 billion on the back of hefty litigation and conduct charges for the first three months of the year.

But stripping out those provisions, half-year pre-tax profits rose by a fifth to £3.7 billion.

Chief executive Jes Staley said the first half was characterised by "strong financial performance and increased profitability".

He added that the second quarter, or three months to June, was the "first quarter for some time with no significant litigation or conduct charges, restructuring costs or other exceptional expenses which hit our profitability".

He added: "This first-half performance shows a bank beginning to demonstrate its true potential and value.

"The numbers we have posted strengthen our confidence that Barclays can deliver attractive and sustainable profits, and in our ability to return a greater proportion of those profits to shareholders over time."

Nevertheless, its performance in the first quarter was adversely affected by a huge US fine over its conduct in the run-up to the global financial crisis.

Barclays agreed earlier this year to pay a $2 billion fine to resolve a fraud case involving mortgage derivatives sold in the run-up to the 2008 global financial crisis.

As a result, the bank took a hit of £1.4 billion from the US settlement.

In line with rival British bank Lloyds, Barclays also set aside more cash to compensate customers mis-sold a controversial credit insurance product.

The lender took another £400-million provision to compensate for so-called payment protection insurance.

Barclays' operations span more than 40 countries with a global workforce of 120,000. Its main hubs are London and New York.

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