Standard gets 98.5 per cent rights backing

David Hellier
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STANDARD Chartered said investors representing 98.5 per cent of its shares signed up for its $5.3bn(£3.3bn) rights issue, which will boost the Asia-focused bank’s capital ahead of tougher global rules.

Standard Chartered yesterday said it had received valid acceptances in respect of 256.7m shares offered to shareholders.

Bookrunners will sell the shares not taken up, probably early today.

The offer -- the third-biggest rights issue this year after Deutsche Bank and UniCredit -- gave investors the chance to buy one new share at 1,280p for every eight owned. The bank’s London listed shares closed at 1,950p on Friday, remaining remarkably strong despite the discounted rights issue.

Standard Chartered said it wanted to continue to seize opportunities across Asia, Africa and the Middle East and tougher capital rules could have constrained its asset growth unless new cash was raised.

The bank denied that it wanted to make any sizeable acquisitions with the new money, although some in the City are sceptical of this and expect an acquisition to be made within the next 12 months or so.

Standard Chartered chief executive Peter Sands is deemed to have had an excellent crisis, having largely kept the bank out of the many maelstroms that have engulfed the financial sector. He played a part in helping the former Labour government to come up with a plan to recapitalise the banks.

Like Barclays and HSBC, Standard has made noises about leaving the UK if it feels the regulatory environment is more hostile than in other territorities. Alone amongst the major UK banks Standard does not have a UK retail network.