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Barclays profits jump almost 10pc

LONDON, Aug 3 – British banking giant Barclays announced on Monday that first-half net profits soared 9.9 percent to 1.9 billion pounds (2.2 billion euros, 3.2 billion dollars) despite the global financial crisis.

Barclays said in a results statement that revenues surged by 37 percent to a record 16.253 billion pounds in the six months to the end of June, compared with the same period of 2008.

Pre-tax profit rose eight percent to 2.98 billion pounds — of which 35 percent was attributed to the group\’s Barclays Capital investment wing.

However, the bank warned that the trading environment would remain "difficult" this year because of the spreading global recession.

In addition, impairment charges and other credit provisions jumped to 4.56 billion pounds in the first half. That compared with 2.45 billion pounds last time around.

"The environment has remained very difficult in 2009 as a consequence of the onset during 2008 of economic recession in most parts of the world in which we operate," said Chief Executive John Varley in the earnings release.

He added: "At the heart of this performance is the service to our customers and clients, for whom the recession creates both challenges and opportunities.

"High levels of activity on their behalf enabled us to grow our income by 37 percent. This has enabled us to absorb the impact of further credit market writedowns and increasing impairment."

Barclays added that profits were boosted by its purchase of the investment banking and trading units belonging to failed US investment giant Lehman Brothers.

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"The Lehman Brothers North American businesses acquisition of 2008, coupled with the market share opportunities created by the upheaval in the global investment banking sector, have enabled us to increase substantially the scale of the client flow business within Barclays Capital," the group added.

Lehman went bankrupt last year after the collapse of the US housing market and subsequent credit crunch, plunging the global financial system into chaos.

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