Standard Chartered to close up to 100 branches

Standard Chartered bank in Hong Kong Image copyright AFP
Image caption Standard Chartered bank is closing 80 to 100 branches to improve profitability in 2015

Standard Chartered will close up to 100 bank branches next year in Asia, Africa and the Middle East in an attempt to improve its profitability.

The UK bank plans to cut about 8% of its global network of more than 1,200 branches to save $400m (£251m) a year.

The announcement was made on the first day of a three-day meeting with investors in Hong Kong on Tuesday.

The Asia-focused bank has been facing tough market conditions and has issued three profit warnings this year.

"We recognise our recent performance has been disappointing and are determined to get back on to a trajectory of sustainable, profitable growth, delivering returns above our cost of capital," said finance director Andy Halford in a presentation to investors.

Last month, the bank reported a 16% fall in third quarter operating profit from a year ago, due to restructuring of its business and an increase in bad loans, particularly in Asia. The bank had seen 10 years of record earnings that ended in 2012.

Its London-listed shares are down over 30% so far this year.

In August, the lender also agreed to pay $300m in fines to New York regulators for failing to improve its money laundering controls that were first identified in 2012.

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