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08.08.2005 Business & Finance

Barclays posts good results

GNA

Accra, Aug. 8, GNA - Barclays Bank Group on Monday reported strong half-year financial results for 2005.

A statement issued from the Ghana Branch in Accra said the Group made progress in each of its strategic priorities to record nine per cent increase in profit of 2,690 million pounds for the period compared to 2,463 million pounds recorded for the same period in 2004. Earnings per share subsequently rose by four per cent to 29.1 pence for the period under review.

The statement attributed the Bank's performance to diversification of business saying: "Our overall profit performance demonstrated the benefits of our universal bank model and the diversification and growth characteristics of our mix business."

The statement mentioned the Africa and Middle East branches of the Group as posting similar excellent results in profit before tax of 12 per cent at 65 million pounds compared to 58 million pounds. The two regions also posted good income performance of 177 million pounds, up 10 per cent on the same period last year.

The statement said the income performance was offset by an increase in operating costs of 23 per cent in the face of stable restructuring costs at nine million pounds for the period under review.

It noted that Barclays Africa and Middle East saw significant volume growth for the period due to a 38 per cent increase in corporate lending supported by growth in South Africa, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

The Group also completed a deal last week in South Africa in which it acquired majority stake in Absa Group to hold more than 56 per cent of all ordinary shares.

The statement quoted the Group Chief Executive John Varley as saying: "We made good progress in all the main elements of the Group strategy, particularly, our international growth plans.

"The profit growth in the first half demonstrates that our strategy is delivering strongly and that we are benefiting from a mix of business that is well diversified by sector, income type and geography." Barclays Bank Group has 193 branches across Africa in 12 countries. The statement said by the deal with Absa, Barclays would increase its spread by another 703 branches.

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