Belfast Telegraph

Standard Chartered sees restructuring efforts pay off as profits surge by 93%

Banking group Standard Chartered has cheered an "encouraging" start to 2017 after posting a 93% leap in half-year profits as restructuring efforts pay off.

Bill Winters, chief executive of the Asian-focused bank, said the group was now "stronger, leaner and becoming more efficient" as revenues stabilise following two years of hefty recovery action and steep losses.

But shares in the London-listed group fell 5% as it said it would still not resume paying dividend payouts amid "regulatory uncertainties".

The group said it would review its dividend policy at the end of the year.

Half-year results showed underlying pre-tax profits jumped to 1.9 billion US dollars (£1.4 billion) as income lifted 6% to 7.2 billion US dollars (£5.4 billion).

Bottom line pre-tax profits were 82% higher at 1.8 billion US dollars (£1.4 billion).

Mr Winters said: "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."

The bank's loan impairments almost halved in the first half, down 47% to 655 million US dollars (£495 million).

Standard Chartered is turning the corner after a tough past five years, when it was fined by US regulators for sanctions breaches in 2012 and was left with surging loan impairments following over-expansion in the 2000s.

It re mained in the red in 2016 with losses of 478 million US dollars (£361 million), having slumped to its first annual loss since 1989 the previous year.

Mr Winters has been slashing costs under an overhaul to steady the group, axing 15,000 jobs and selling off or restructuring more than 100 billion US dollars (£76 billion) of risky assets.