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Barclays resumes dividend payouts as annual profit halves

LONDON, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Barclays’ annual profit in 2020 fell by half, the bank reported on Thursday, much less than feared as a strong performance by its investment bank offset provisions against bad loans from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The British bank said it would resume paying dividends of 1 pence per share, as well as returning capital via a 700 million pound buyback, after lenders halted payouts last year at the request of the Bank of England.

Barclays reported a profit before tax for 2020 of 3.1 billion pounds ($4.29 billion), well above the average estimate of 1.96 billion pounds from analysts’ forecasts compiled by the bank. ($1 = 0.7221 pounds) (Reporting By Lawrence White and Iain Withers Editing by Rachel Armstrong)

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