Standard Chartered share price flops as lack of dividend disappoints

Lucy White
Standard Chartered has said it will review the dividend again at the end of the year (Source: Getty)

Standard Chartered has failed to impress despite a 93 per cent increase in underlying profit before tax, as it refuses to reinstate dividends.

The share price hit lows of 800.1p in morning trading, down 5.45 per cent, as investors showed their frustration that dividends remained on hold since being dropped last year.

Read more: Standard Chartered share price down as group chief executive dubs 2015 performance "poor"

The bank's chairman Jose Vinals said the board was “encouraged” by the increase in profits, but was “mindful that more clarity may emerge over the coming months regarding current regulatory uncertainties”.

“The board will consider at the end of the year whether it is appropriate to recommence the payment of a dividend,” he said.

Underlying profit before tax was $1.9bn (£1.4bn), while statutory profit (the figure including any exceptional costs) was up 82 per cent to $1.8bn.

Meanwhile, the bank's underlying income of $7.2bn was up six per cent year on year.

Despite the lack of dividend, underlying basic earnings per share over the first six months of 2017 were more than double the same period last year, at 34.4 cents.

"We have had an encouraging start to 2017, making steady progress against our strategic objectives. Our increased profitability and improved asset quality over the last year reflect the success of this approach: we are stronger, leaner and becoming more efficient,” said chief executive Bill Winters.

“We go into the second half of the year confident in our resilience and in our ability to generate better value for our clients and shareholders."

Read more: Higher profits fail to prevent ratings downgrade for Standard Chartered Bank from Moody's

Behind the figures

In actual fact, the leap in profits was partly due to Standard Chartered not incurring the heavy losses from its private equity business and bad loans which hit the results last year.

The bank has been wading through a turnaround procedure, as its revenues plummeted by $5bn between 2012 and 2016, and it now needs to begin pushing these figures up.

Investec analyst Ian Gordon said:

We continue to believe that the revenue run-rate is far too low to generate the scale and pace of recovery that consensus appears to expect.

Restructuring charges amounted to $165m in the first half, taking the total since November 2015 to $2.9bn.

Since former JP Morgan banker Winters took the Standard Chartered reins two years ago, he has made more than 15,000 job cuts, raised more than $5bn in capital and overhauled how the bank makes loan decisions.

Read more: Standard Chartered becomes latest firm to be caught up in exec pay row, as shareholders protest targets for Bill Winter's pay are too easy

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