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Barclays profits more than double

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Barclays bank branchImage copyright PA

Barclays says its profits more than doubled in the first three months of the year, boosted by better performance in its core business.

Pre-tax profit for the first quarter was £1.682bn, up from £793m for the same period last year.

Chief executive Jes Staley said it had been “another quarter of strong progress towards the completion of the restructuring of Barclays”.

He said there was good reason to feel optimistic about the firm’s prospects.

The figure was better than analysts had predicted and comes despite a one-off goodwill impairment charge of £884m on the bank’s stake in Barclays Africa Group, which it intends to sell in the next two to three years.

“On Africa, we await approval for the separation arrangements already agreed with local management, following which we will be able to make further progress towards regulatory deconsolidation,” Mr Staley said.

‘Legacy issues’

Mr Staley said Barclays planned to hire about 2,000 new staff in the UK in the next three years, focused on technology.

He told Bloomberg the bank wanted to bring technology development back in house and reduce reliance on external contractors.

At the same time, he admitted it would also increase the number of staff based in the EU, following the UK’s Brexit vote.

In its statement, Barclays said that “certain legal proceedings and investigations relating to legacy issues” were still outstanding.

In particular, it said the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) intended to make a decision shortly about “matters relating to our capital raisings in 2008”.

This refers to a long-running SFO investigation into a cash injection received by Barclays from Qatari investors at the height of the financial crisis.

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