Barclays keeps shareholders guessing over cash call

Barclays kept shareholders guessing today over whether it will make a multi-billion pound cash call to bolster its balance sheet.

The UK’s third biggest banking group said all options remained open as it revealed a further £1bn (€1.3bn) write-down due to credit market turbulence and said first quarter profits were down on a year ago.

Speculation regarding a rights issue has grown since rivals Royal Bank of Scotland and Halifax Bank Scotland raised £12bn (€15bn) and £4bn (€5bn) respectively. Banks are under pressure from regulators to boost their capital reserves after incurring losses on securities backed by US mortgages.

Other options could include capital injections from overseas, following the stakes taken by Singapore’s Temasek and China Development Bank last year.

Finance director Chris Lucas said: “We are not going to rule in or rule out anything at this stage.”

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