Standard Chartered profits rise 20% on Asia growth

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Standard Chartered, the British-based emerging markets bank, posted record net profits of $2.5 billion in the first half of 2011 as revenues surged in most of its key Asian markets, it said Wednesday.

Profit after tax of $2.52 billion (1.78 billion euros) for the six months to June compared with net profit of $2.10 billion a year earlier, and beat analyst expectations of $2.42 billion, according to a poll by Dow Jones Newswires.

"These are excellent results, our ninth successive first half of record profits. Our costs are tightly controlled and we have many diverse sources of good income growth," Standard Chartered chairman John Peace said in a statement.

"We have increased our support to our customers, with loans and deposits up, and our capital and liquidity remain strong. Standard Chartered is growing and winning market share in many product areas and markets."

Revenues jumped 11 percent to $8.76 billion in the first half.

"Standard Chartered continues to deliver strong, broad-based results," said chief executive Peter Sands.

"We have stuck to our familiar strategy, to focus on Asia, Africa and the Middle East, markets in which we have a long history and which we know intimately."

He said the group expected to deliver double-digit income growth for the full year.

Standard did not announce any new job losses, in contrast to rival British banks HSBC and Barclays earlier this week, but noted that the group's headcount currently stood at 84,061, down 1,170 since the start of 2011.

Pre-tax profits jumped 17 percent to $3.64 billion, while record 29-percent revenue growth in Hong Kong helped to offset a five-percent decline in India.

"Income (in India) has been impacted by rising interest rates in response to high inflation, coupled with higher levels of competition and regulatory changes," the bank said.

Standard Chartered's share price rose 0.87 percent to 1,567.5 pence in morning trade on London's FTSE 100 index which was down 1.0 percent at 5,658.77 points.

"A concentration on the savings-focused Asian consumer as opposed to their debt-ridden European and US counterparts continues to make the vital difference" for Standard, said analyst Keith Bowman at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers.

"Customer deposits have grown by 19 percent, cost containment remains a focus, whilst the group continues to enhance both its geographical and business diversity, unlike many rivals."

© 2011 AFP

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