Barclays posts a 8.9% fall in Q1 pretax profit


Barclays Bank of Kenya posted a 8.9% fall in pretax profit for the first quarter of the year attributable to a one-off staff related cost, but said it expected interest income to rise this year as it cut its prime lending rate last month and said more competitive rates should boost its lending business.
According to the CEO,the bank fully expects to generate good growth in interest income through the year -- by increasing revenue per customer as well as attracting new customers.
Pretax profit was 2.00Billion shillings during the first three months of 2010, down from 2.20Billion in the same period last year.
Net interest income jumped 13% on better margins while operating expenses increased by slightly more than half a billion shillings to 4.07Billion on the back of a one-off expense related to staff. It said underlying expenses were in line with inflation and business expectations.
Barclays' shareholders approved last week the sale of the bank's custody business to Standard Chartered Bank of Kenya for about 3.5 billion shillings.

On the dividend front, shareholders have asked for Sh3.5 billion to be distributed as bonus shares or dividends while the retained earnings can be used for reinvestment or expansion of the business.
The shareholders also approved a final dividend for the year ended December 31, 2009 of Sh2 per share, which when taken together with the interim dividend of Sh0.50 per share paid previously makes a total dividend of Sh2.50 per share, a 25% increase over 2008, with the increase in dividend attributable to Barclays strong performance during the year.