British banking giant Barclays on Tuesday reported a 2 percent drop in full-year profit and said that it would reduce stake in its Africa business.
Underlying annual profits for 2015 fell to 5.4 billion pounds ($7.5 billion) from 5.5 billion pounds ($7.67 billion) in 2014, while the bank’s adjusted pretax profit in the fourth quarter fell 56 percent to 247 million pounds ($344.6 million) from 563 million pounds ($785.5 million) in the same period last year.
Separately, the bank also made an additional provision of 1.45 billion pounds ($2.02 billion) in the fourth quarter to compensate customers who were sold loan insurance they didn’t need, and announced a reduction in dividend for 2016 and 2017, to 3 pence from 6.5 pence in 2015.
Jes Staley — who took over as Barclays’ CEO in December — said that the bank would “sell down” its 62.3 percent stake in its Africa business over the next two to three years, “to a level which will permit us to deconsolidate it from an accounting and regulatory perspective.”
“Barclays is fundamentally on the right path, and is, at its core, a very good business. There is of course more we need to do and areas where I believe we can move much faster to deliver the high performing Group that Barclays can and should be,” Staley said in a statement. “2016 will consequently be a year of accelerated delivery from a good base.”
Barclays has over 12 million customers across 12 nations in Africa. The business, which accounts for 14 percent of the bank’s assets, has been hit by a slowdown in economic growth in the region and a weakening South African rand.
Barclays Africa Group Ltd. “is a well-diversified business and a high quality franchise,” Staley said in the statement. “However the stake in BAGL presents specific challenges to Barclays as owners, such as the level of capital held in respect of BAGL, the international reach of the U.K. bank levy ... and other regulatory requirements.”
In early trading in London, the bank’s shares were trading down 6.45 percent. So far this year, Barclays’ stock has dropped nearly 27 percent.