Barclays swings back to profit in 2018, sets aside nearly $200 million for Brexit

  • Barclays reported a full-year net profit of £1.4 billion for 2018 on Thursday, swinging back to profit from 2017 losses.
  • Barclays also set aside a Brexit provision of £150 million in its 2018 results.
  • "There is a lot of uncertainty out there. What is important for Barclays is we are a British bank and we are staying committed to the U.K.," Barclays' Jes Staley told CNBC.

Barclays reported a full-year net profit of £1.4 billion ($1.82 billion) for 2018 Thursday, swinging back to the black after 2017 losses.

In 2017, the British bank posted a significant loss of £1.92 billion, after it was hit by a one-off £901 million charge on U.S. deferred tax assets.

Here are some other takeaways from Barclays' 2018 results:

  • The bank reported its 2018 core capital ratio at 13.2 percent, unchanged from the previous year.
  • Group profit before tax increased 20 percent to £5.7 billion
  • Earnings per share excluding litigation and conduct for the full year was 21.9 pence.

Barclays also set aside a Brexit provision of £150 million in its 2018 results. Shares of the bank jumped more than 4 percent in early deals on Thursday.

"In the fourth quarter, we took a special impairment charge of £150 million, given the uncertainty around Brexit. We think that was a prudent and proper thing to do," Jes Staley, chief executive officer of Barclays, told CNBC Thursday.

"There is a lot of uncertainty out there. What is important for Barclays is we are a British bank and we are staying committed to the U.K."

Fitch Ratings said on Wednesday it may downgrade the United Kingdom's "AA" debt rating based on growing uncertainty about the negotiations between Britain and the European Union over the nation's departure from the economic bloc next month.

"(A) downgrade would not be beneficial to the U.K. by any means. We do think the markets are pricing in a fairly negative story right now. So overall let's see what happens. It will be great to have this uncertainty behind us. But Barclays is standing by, ready to help our small businesses, corporates and consumers no matter what happens," Staley said.

Barclays, along with other European banks, has been under pressure due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. The bank was recently also in the news after a report in the Financial Times stated that U.S. hedge fund Tiger Global Management sold all of its stake in Barclays.

The New York-based hedge fund had been one of the top 10 investors in Barclays and held a stake of 2.5 percent in the bank. The exit comes at a time when Barclays is facing pressure from activist investor Edward Bramson forcing his way on to the board. Bramson's Sherborne Investors holds a 5.5 percent stake in the bank.

According to Reuters, Bramson has in the past urged Barclays to reduce resources allocated to its investment units.