While the company did not directly explain how it will use the proceeds, the cash will help improve the firm’s liquidity after years of unprofitability have hurt its cash reserves and lowered its net cash flow from investing, which fell to -£8.4 billion ($10.2 billion) in 2015. The bank’s operating income fell 25 percent in the first three quarters of 2016 to £1.5 billion, driving its tangible net asset value per share to £2.87, or 0.7% lower on a year-over-year basis.
Weak performance has been a consistent headwind for the bank, which has seen its stock fall 1.9 percent in the last year despite a sharp bull run in financial stocks across Europe. Part of its underperformance is also the result of uncertainty around an ongoing investigation from American regulators into the bank’s role in the 2007/2008 Global Financial Crisis. The British investment bank remains one of the few firms to refuse to settle with the U.S. Department of Justice while denying rumors that it is working on a settlement with the DoJ. (See Also: Barclays Denies Fine Negotiations.)
Many banks have rallied after reaching settlements with the DoJ, including a recent agreement between Deutsche Bank (DB) and the DoJ that helped DB shares rise over 20 percent in less than two months. However, BCS is less eager to resolve its legal woes. According to The Guardian, Barclays categorically rejects the DoJ’s accusations and is working to defend itself. “Barclays considers that the claims made in the complaint are disconnected from the facts. We have an obligation to our shareholders, customers, clients, and employees to defend ourselves against unreasonable allegations and demands. Barclays will vigorously defend the complaint and seek its dismissal at the earliest opportunity,” the bank said in a statement.