Barclays posts record profits

High street bank Barclays has reported a 15 per cent increase in profits during 2005, above analysts' forecasts.

The banking group announced that 2005 pre-tax profit rose from £4.58 billion in 2004 to a record £5.28 billion last year.

Britain's third largest bank revealed that growth for the year was particularly strong in its international arm, though a 19 per cent fall in profits at Barclaycard to £687 million, caused largely by bad debt, affected its final accounts.

Barclays investment banking subsidiary Barclays Capital (BarCap) reported a 35 per cent increase in profits to £1.27 billion over 2006.

However, profit growth was slower for the company's UK banking division, rising eight per cent last year to £2.44 billion. The amount classified by Barclays as bad debt rose 44 per cent over 2005 to £1.57 billion.

Barclays chief executive, John Varley, said: "Barclays delivered strong and broadly based profit growth in 2005… We made good progress in the UK, and are well positioned across the group for further growth in 2006."

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