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Barclays Says U.K. Retail Bank Profits Rise

Barclays, which has agreed to buy Dutch rival ABN Amro in the biggest ever bank takeover, said on Thursday it had made a strong start to 2007 and it had seen "good growth" in U.K. retail bank profit.

Britain's third biggest bank said in a trading update that its market share of new UK mortgages had improved, it was on track to improve its UK banking cost/income ratio this year and the bad debt charge for its Barclaycard unit had fallen.

Barclays confirmed earlier comments that pretax profit in the first quarter was 15% above a year earlier, and rose 10% excluding property gains, and Barclays Capital had its best quarter ever.

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