Barclays quarterly profit meets estimates as cuts speed up

Pedestrians pass a Barclays bank, operated by Barclays Plc, in Guildford, UK, on July, 27, 2015.
Pedestrians pass a Barclays bank, operated by Barclays Plc, in Guildford, UK, on July, 27, 2015.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - Barclays chairman John McFarlane said he will step up the pace of cuts at the British lender as it reported second-quarter profit that matched analysts estimates.

Pretax profit, including restructuring costs, rose to £1.85 billion (S$3.94 billion) from £1.7 billion in the year-earlier period, Barclays said in a statement on Wednesday. That was in line with the £1.8 billion average estimate of five analysts compiled by Bloomberg.

McFarlane, 68, has moved quickly to assert himself at Barclays since taking up his post in April, firing chief executive officer Antony Jenkins this month and taking over after growing frustration with the slow pace of restructuring. The chairman has since vowed to speed up disposals at the non- core bank and set out a revised investment-banking strategy, while pledging to double the share price over the next three to four years.

"We need to accelerate the execution of the strategy," McFarlane said. "There is much more that can be done to delivery better returns for shareholders," he added. "I am personally pleased with the recent progress in the investment bank."

The shares have risen about 14 per cent this year. By comparison, Deutsche Bank has increased 20 per cent in that period, while UBS Group is up 25 per cent.

Barclays is the first major UK bank to report first-half results, followed by Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Lloyds Banking Group this week, and HSBC Holdings and Standard Chartered the next.