The vital role for UK corporate clients played by Barclays was clearer than ever during the coronavirus crisis: the bank arranged £9.9 billion of commercial paper issuance under the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility, almost half of the total.
This was in addition to participating in government-guaranteed loan schemes, as well as providing repayment holidays and fee waivers for retail clients.
After the Covid-19 outbreak, Barclays led much of the sovereign issuance across European capital markets, from Spain’s €5 billion 30-year deal on February 25, to Austria’s three- and 30-year transactions on March 26, after weeks of stalled issuance.
It also priced an €8 billion bond for Belgium in late March, attracting an extraordinary €55 billion order book.
Barclays helped lead the reopening of equity capital markets, both for companies managing difficulties and for those raising money to meet higher demand, as was the case in the pharmaceutical sector.
This included deals for SSP, Compass and WH Smith in the UK, Germany’s Shop Apotheke and Switzerland’s Idorsia.
The bank helped corporate clients through the crisis by amending financing documentation to preempt default, delay reporting and suspend covenant tests. Liability management work like this extended to UK businesses such as service station retailer EG Group, Travelodge and Manchester Airport Group.
Barclays’ £100 million Covid-19 community aid package also stands out. Half of this was destined for Barclays’ charitable partners in the communities where it operates. It includes donations of £100,000 each to 100 UK charities alleviating the social crisis brought about by the pandemic, including support to low-income families, the isolated elderly and key workers.
Barclays set aside a further £50 million to match donations by its employees to charities of their own choosing that are active in the relief effort, potentially bringing the total package to £150 million.
Chairman Nigel Higgins, chief executive Jes Staley and chief financial officer Tushar Morzaria each donated a third of their fixed pay for the next six months.