Barclays shares plummet as it cuts dividend and profits dip to £5.4bn


Barclays has reported a 2 per cent drop in pre-tax profits for 2015 and has slashed its dividend for the next two years.

The bank made £5.4bn in profit during the year, down from £5.5bn in 2014.

Barclays has declared a final dividend of 3.5p per share, making 6.5p in total for 2015. But the bank says it wants to pay a dividend of 3p per share in 2016 and 2017.

The move to cut the dividend led to an 11 per cent dive in Barclays share price, leading to trading being temporarily halted. Shares are now down around 30 per cent so far this year.

Bonuses at the bank were cut by 10 per cent across the business as total incentives, including bonuses, were £1.6bn.

The bank paid £2.7bn in redress to UK customers in 2015, up from £1.1bn in 2014.

Around £2.2bn of the 2015 figure was paid to customers that had been missold payment protection insurance. Barclays says it had 1.6 million PPI claims by the end of 2015, down 9 per cent on 2014.

The bank set aside an additional £1.4bn against PPI in the final quarter of the year due to a slower than expected drop in claim volumes.

The Share Centre investment research analyst Graham Spooner says the banking sector remains “under a cloud”, with the firm placing a “hold” rating on Barclays.

Hargreaves Lansdown senior analyst Laith Khalaf adds: “Cleaning is very much still in progress at Barclays, as the group seeks to focus its business around its core strengths and mop up the grisly legacy bits that are still weighing the bank down.

“This philosophy is very much in vogue in the banking sector, where the sins of the past continue to loom large. To that end Barclays put aside £2.2bn to cover PPI claims, and booked a £1.5bn loss from the non-core businesses it is downsizing.

“The new boss Jes Staley is clearly taking a big broom to Barclays’ operations in a bid to dramatically simplify the group.

“When the dust has cleared, the bank should have two high quality financial services divisions, and the potential to offer investors a decent dividend, but it’s going to take some elbow grease to get there.”

Barclays also announced it will reduce its stake in Barclays Africa Group and focus on Barclays UK and Barclays Corporate & International.

The bank says: “We are today announcing our intention to sell down our 62.3 per cent interest in our African business, BAGL, over the coming two to three years, to a level which will permit us to deconsolidate it from an accounting and regulatory perspective, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals if and as required.”