Standard Chartered profits drop 84%

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Standard Chartered has seen its annual profits fall a staggering 84 per cent, amid weaker global financial markets, tumbling commodity prices and rising loan impairments.

The emerging markets-focused bank said its underlying 2015 pre-tax profit was $800m, compared to the previous year’s total of $5.2bn.

Revenue fell 15 per cent to $15.4bn and loan impairments jumped 87 per cent to $4bn from $2.1bn in 2014.

Despite the poor performance, Standard Chartered group chief executive Bill Winters says: “While our 2015 financial results were poor, they are set against a backdrop of continuing geo-political and economic headwinds and volatility across many of our markets.

“We expect the financial performance of the group to remain subdued during 2016.”

However, the bank said the challenging external environment “is not an excuse for our performance” as it is also “partly the result of deliberate management actions”.

It says: “We have accelerated the necessary repositioning of our main businesses, tightened risk tolerances, reduced and liquidated risk concentrations, and restructured our organisation, including a significant reduction in staff numbers.

“The immediate impact of these actions has been reduced income following business disposals and asset reductions, upfront costs to gain future efficiencies and higher levels of impairment.”

Last November Winters announced plans to axe 15,000 jobs and raise $5.1bn in capital as part of a plan to restore profitability.

Total assets at the bank decreased by 12 per cent in 2015 from $726bn to £640bn.

The bank’s board also confirmed its earlier decision not to declare a final dividend for 2015. The total dividend for 2015 will be 13.7 cents per share as declared in the half-year results and paid to shareholders on 19 October 2015.