Barclays Plc will see a tough environment in 2009 but is committed to resuming dividend payments in the second half of the year as it adjust its strategy to realities of a global financial crisis and economic recession, the bank's chief executive John Varley said on Monday.
Varley, in the company's annual report, said the company would state its dividend payment policy in April while being committed to resuming payments in the second half of 2009.
For 2009, returns will rank ahead of growth, he said, stating that the company will work to make sure its capital position is robust and its balance sheet well managed.
Despite the downturn he said the company must deliver solid profitability notwithstanding the global downturn.
He also was mindful of last year's capital raising, saying the bank needs to make sure the cost is covered many times over by pursuit of the company's strategy.
Varley said the U.K.-bank is taking steps in 2009 to adjust its strategy to the extraordinarily challenging business and economic environment of the past two years, which remains so.
Our plans for 2009 assume that impairment will continue to be at a high level, he said, noting that the bank's market and geographical presence means it will not avoid the consequences of severe downturn.
Less Leverage, Revised Goals
In the coming year, with less leverage and more capital in the banking system, Barclays will adjust its business accordingly, he noted. The company will also revise its profit goals to reflect increased regulatory capital requirements and the observed cost of equity, he said.
[T]he capital intensity of the advisory businesses in M&A and of the flow businesses in fixed income, currencies, equities and credit will be lower, once we have managed down our credit market exposures, he said.
Trading 'Strong' to Start 2009
He also noted that trading activity levels were high in January, calling it a good start to the year due to the very strong operating performance of Barclays Capital which has benefited from the now complete integration of the Lehman business.
Global Retail and Commercial Banking benefited from the reasons for strong operating performance in 2008, he added.