Standard Chartered Bank reports profit of $409 million

Chief executive Bill Winters described the results as "good progress", but said the figures were still not up to scratch.

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Standard Chartered's pre-tax profits were back in the black at $409 million, compared to the previous year's loss of $1.52 billion play

Standard Chartered's pre-tax profits were back in the black at $409 million, compared to the previous year's loss of $1.52 billion

(AFP)
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Asia-focused bank Standard Chartered on Friday announced it swung back to profitability, after it was able dampen the effect of bad loans.

Chief executive Bill Winters described the results as "good progress", but said the figures were still not up to scratch.

"Our financial returns are not yet where they need to be and do not reflect the Group's earnings potential.

"Having worked hard to secure our foundations we are now focused on realising that potential," said Winters, who has been in the job for a year-and-a-half.

He replaced former CEO Peter Sands after shareholder calls for a boardroom cull following profit warnings.

Pre-tax profits were back in the black at $409 million, compared to the previous year's loss of $1.52 billion, the London-based company said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

The bank's underlying loan impairment was brought down by 40 percent at $2.382 billion, compared to the year before.

But operating profit, which excludes one-time items, was at $1.09 billion, missing the average of 13 analysts' estimates polled by Bloomberg, who had predicted $1.42 billion.

The company also still saw a net loss of $247 million, an improvement from last year's net loss of $2.19 billion.

The bank's London shares fell 4.6 percent in Friday morning trade on the London Stock Exchange after the results were published.

Its 2015 results saw its first annual loss since 1989, after it battled global financial turmoil that sent stocks and commodities plunging.

Standard Chartered in late 2015 announced it was re-focusing on "affluent retail clients" rather than corporate and institutional banking businesses and would exit or restructure $100 billion of assets.

It also said in 2015 it would cut 15,000 jobs around the world.

Winters, in Friday's statement, also vowed to improve conduct at the bank, which has faced multiple investigations.

"We have sharpened our focus on all aspects of conduct, not simply on combating financial crime," Winters said.

Hong Kong's stock market regulator filed a lawsuit against the bank over "market misconduct" for a 2009 initial public offering on the city's bourse in January.

In August 2014, the bank was hit by US regulators with a $300 million fine and restrictions on its dollar-clearing business for failing to detect possible money-laundering.

It paid $667 million in 2012 to settle charges it violated US sanctions by handling thousands of money transactions involving Iran, Myanmar, Libya and Sudan.

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