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British bank Barclays announces surge in annual profit

Barclays' pre-tax profits surged last year, the British bank revealed on Monday in a surprise statement amid media speculation over its earnings.

LONDON: Barclays' pre-tax profits surged last year, the British bank revealed on Monday in a surprise statement amid media speculation over its earnings.

Profit before tax hit £2.9 billion ($4.8 billion, 3.5 billion euros) in 2013, compared with £246 million in 2012.

Barclays revealed the figures one day before its scheduled full-year results statement. It gave no reason for the early disclosure, although the Financial Times newspaper had reported similar figures.

Barclays added that its adjusted pre-tax profit slumped 26 per cent to £5.2 billion, the bank added in a brief statement that gave no other information.

The adjusted level, which usually strips out some non-recurrent items, undershot forecasts of £5.41 billion, according to analysts polled by the group.

Barclays' share price rose by 1.10 per cent to stand at 274.70 pence following Monday's announcement. London's benchmark FTSE 100 index was 0.13 per cent higher in morning deals.

Barclays, which is still looking to repair its reputation following its role in the Libor interest rate-rigging scandal, is also among companies under investigation for possible manipulation of foreign exchange trading.

Chief executive Antony Jenkins said last week that he would not take a bonus for his work in 2013, as Barclays looks to deal with significant litigation costs.

The group warned also that it would set aside £300 million in provisions for the fourth quarter of 2013 to cover litigation and regulatory charges.

Meanwhile on Sunday, Britain's data watchdog launched a probe after confidential files relating to Barclays customers were allegedly stolen then sold on to rogue brokers.

The Information Commissioner's Office said it would be looking into the case this week.

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