Standard Chartered facing in profit-drop surprise
Standard Chartered (2888.HK) said it had no plans to tap shareholders for cash despite reporting a 25% slide in annual pretax profit on the back of soaring bad loans.Standard Chartered on course to follow HSBC in profit-drop surprise.The Asia-focused bank said yesterday it was eschewing “knee-jerk actions” and vowed to cut costs and shrink its loan book in an effort to quell concerns about its capital strength, throwing down the gauntlet to incoming chief Bill Winters.
The bank is braced for a strategic revamp when the former investment banker takes over as chief executive in June, with many expecting him to launch a multi-billion pound rights issue to reboot capital after a prolonged slump in profits.
The bank’s shares were up more than 5 % in morning London trade to their highest since October.
The stock has risen 11% since Winters’ appointment last week, part of an investor-led purge of top brass including veteran chief executive Peter Sands, three non-executive directors and the bank’s head of Asia, Jaspal Bindra. Chairman John Peace will also step down.
A decade-long run of record profits came to a screeching halt in 2013 as Asia’s credit binge turned sour. Loan impairments at the bank’s corporate and institutional clients more than doubled to HK$7.73 billion. The bank said it had cut its bonus pool 9% . Sands described 2014 as a perfect storm of falling commodity prices, persistent low interest rates and negative sentiment towards emerging markets. And he said that the bank was now targeting a return on equity above 10%.