StanChart stays strong despite industry slump

 
Tim Wallace
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STANDARD Chartered’s profits jumped again in the first half of the year thanks to its focus on growing markets in Asia and Africa rather than the troubled Eurozone, the bank revealed yesterday.

But it even managed to notch up growth in its currency area operations despite the sovereign debt crisis, in stark contrast to the poor performance of many other European and US institutions in the sector.

Pre-tax profits jumped nine per cent to a record high of $3.95bn (£3.1bn) in the first six months of the year, up from $3.64bn in the same period of 2011 and the bank’s tenth consecutive first half period of record income.

Operating revenues increased across much of Asia, with operating profits up in Singapore, Korea and India.

Operating profits from the Middle East jumped strongly from $72m to $103m, while profits in the Americas, Europe and UK swung to $12m, from a loss of $15m in the same period of last year.

Headcount jumped by almost 3,000 on the year to 86,918, and the bank expects to hire another 1000 to 1500 staff over the coming six months.

Many of those jobs will come in China where Standard Chartered aims to open another 10 branches by the end of the year, and India where it expects to open another six, taking the total in each country to 100.

It also sees Africa as a market for rapid growth, and expects to open more than 160 new branches in the coming years.