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Standard Chartered books a record year

Steve Dinneen
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STANDARD Chartered has powered to a seventh successive year of record profits and earnings.

It credited strong recovery in its core Asian and African markets for a 13 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to $5.15bn (£3.4bn).

Revenue shot up nine per cent to $15.2bn, buoyed by each of its divisions in Korea, India, Singapore and Hong Kong delivering income of more than £1bn.

Although Standard Chartered is listed in the UK, only 2,000 of its 77,000 employees are based here.

Its mortgage business grew by 21 per cent on the previous year, reflecting a recovery in the Asian property market.

The bank also avoided the worst of the banking sector’s exposure to toxic loans, with impairments dropping significantly on the previous year.

A blip on its performance was a fall in operating profit in its consumer banking division, which it blamed on falling demand for investment services and low returns on its cash deposits.

Group finance director Richard Meddings told City A.M.: “Our strategy very much focuses on Asia, Africa and the Middle East and these economies performed very well.

“The recovery in Asia has been much faster than in the UK. GDP is growing and unemployment is decreasing. There is also a much higher propensity to save and a growing population.

“Our operating profits before tax in the consumer division decreased, partly due to a slowing of income caused by a decrease in demand for investment products. After Lehman collapsed, consumer demand fell off, although this is now recovering.

“Momentum is definitely with us. Profits between the first and second half increased 49 per cent.”