Barclays profit before tax more than doubles to £1.68bn

(c) Sky News 2017: <a href="">Barclays profit before tax more than doubles to £1.68bn</a>

Barclays (LSE: BARC.L - news) has seen its profit before tax more than double in the first three months of 2017 compared to the same period last year.

The bank made £1.682bn between January and March, up from £793m however its share price took a hit as investors fretted about earnings from its investment banking division, which missed estimates.

Barclays' market value had fallen by more than 5% by the close.

Commenting on the results, the company's chief executive, Jes Staley, said the profit figures marked "another quarter of strong progress towards the completion of the restructuring of Barclays".

"We are now just two months away from completing the restructuring of Barclays as a Transatlantic Consumer, Corporate and Investment Bank and there is further good reason in this quarter's performance to feel optimistic for our prospects," he said.

Barclays has been selling off sections of its international operations in countries including France, Italy and Egypt as it shifts focus to Britain and the US, and Friday's release indicated the firm was close to offloading its African subsidiary after having had a presence on the continent for over 90 years.

"On Africa, we await approval for the separation arrangements already agreed with local management, following which we will be able to make further progress towards regulatory deconsolidation," Mr Staley said.

The lender released the financial update as Mr Staley faces shareholder anger over his attempts to unmask a whistleblower - revealed earlier this month.

The company said it had reprimanded the chief executive and would cut his pay significantly, as it admitted regulators were examining the affair.

It was reported that a shareholder advisory firm had urged investors to abstain from supporting Mr Staley's re-election to the bank's board at its AGM next month.

The Times also suggested a swell of opposition to the re-election of Barclays UK chairman, Sir Ian Cheshire, citing concern he has too many directorships.

Barclays responded by insisting Sir Ian, whose roles include being Debenhams (Frankfurt: D2T.F - news) chairman, had agreed to reduce his workload by September.

It is believed he will relinquish his current board role at Whitbread (Frankfurt: WHF4.F - news) .