Barclays Posts 27% Rise in Net Profit for the First Quarter, Beats Expectations

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  • London-based Barclays beat analyst expectations Thursday, reporting net profit of £1.78 billion ($2.2 billion) for the first quarter.
  • Higher rates boosted net interest income at Barclays UK, while the bank's consumer, cards and payments division grew by 47%.
  • Chief Executive Officer C. S. Venkatakrishnan said the results were "strong" and would allow the bank to "customers and clients through an uncertain economic environment."

LONDON — Barclays on Thursday reported net profit of £1.78 billion ($2.2 billion) for the first quarter, beating expectations and coming in 27% higher year-on-year.

A consensus Reuters poll of analysts forecast net profit at £1.432 billion.

On a branch basis, income from the bank's consumer, cards and payments division rose 47%, compensating for just 1% growth in its corporate and investment bank division. It partly attributed this to its acquisition of retailer Gap's credit card portfolio.

The income of Barclays UK was up 19% due to improved net interest income.

The bank also flagged £500 million in credit impairment charges, which it said resulted from higher U.S. card balances and the "continuing normalisation anticipated in US cards delinquencies."

Impairment charges are used by businesses to write off assets. In its previous results, Barclays said it set aside £1.2 billion for such charges last year, as its customers struggled with cost pressures.

Barclays shares were up 4.3% at 8:55 a.m. in London.

Analysts at Jefferies said the "robust" results suggested scope for consensus upgrades, with "not a lot to nitpick."

On track

Barclays said it "remains on track to deliver its 2023 targets, with all performance metrics in line with or ahead of guidance" at the first quarter.

Chief Executive Officer C. S. Venkatakrishnan described it as a "strong" quarter, with income up 11% to £7.2 billion.

"The momentum across the group allows us to maintain a robust capital position, deliver attractive returns to shareholders, and support our customers and clients through an uncertain economic environment," he said in a statement.

The results come after a turbulent period for the global banking sector, which saw the collapse of U.S.-based Silicon Valley Bank and several other regional lenders in early March and the rapid takeover of Credit Suisse by Swiss rival UBS.

Earlier on Thursday, Deutsche Bank reported first-quarter net profit of 1.158 billion euros ($1.28 billion), coming above a consensus forecast of 864.54 million euros.

The bank was briefly swept up in the banking volatility of last month, when its stock plunged and  credit default swaps — a form of insurance for a company's bondholders against its default — rose sharply.

Market watchers are once more focusing on U.S. banks this week, after First Republic revealed heavier-than-expected deposit outflows in the first quarter, with its stock dropping to a record low.

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