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Standard Chartered Profit Plunges To Lowest Since 1998

Profits at Standard Chartered plunged 84 per cent last year, its worst result since 1998, sending the bank's shares down as much as 10 per cent on Tuesday

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Profits at Standard Chartered plunged 84 per cent last year, its worst result since 1998, sending the bank's shares down as much as 10 per cent on Tuesday (23 February) as volatile markets, weak commodity prices and low interest rates took their toll.

The emerging markets-focused bank said its underlying pretax profit was $800 million, down from $5.2 billion in 2014. That was lower than analysts' average estimate of $899 million, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The bank reported a loss before tax of $1.5 billion after including restructuring costs of $1.8 billion.

The profit plunge shows the scale of the task facing new Chief Executive Bill Winters, as he attempts to restore revenue growth after six successive quarters of decline.

Former JPMorgan investment banker Winters last November announced plans to axe 15,000 jobs and raised $5.1 billion in capital as part of a plan to restore profitability and shore up the balance sheet.

"Given current market conditions and the early stage of implementation of our strategy, we expect the financial performance of the group to remain subdued during 2016," Winters said. "We will continue to take the necessary and sometimes painful actions to reposition the group for returns and disciplined growth."

Standard Chartered's problems began to emerge in 2012, when after a decade of rising profits the lender was hit by US regulatory fines and the start of a prolonged downturn in emerging markets and commodity prices on which much of its fortunes depend.

Unable to reverse the downward tide, previous CEO Peter Sands was ousted in February last year.

The bank's shares had fallen 22 per cent so far this year, amid a broader 20 per cent drop in European bank stocks as investors worry about slowing growth and lenders' loans to the embattled energy sector.

At 0845 GMT, the stock was down 6 per cent at 410.55 pence, the worst performance on Europe's blue-chip index.


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