Business

Standard Chartered shares sink on shock quarterly loss

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Media captionThis is the first financial loss Standard Chartered has faced since the 90s, as BBC business editor Kamal Ahmed explains

Shares in Standard Chartered fell sharply after the Asia-focused UK bank said it would raise $5.1bn (£3.3bn) and cut 15,000 jobs by 2018.

About $3bn being raised in the rights issue will cover the bank's turnaround costs.

The restructuring was announced as the bank reported a "disappointing" third-quarter pre-tax loss of $139m for the three months to September.

That compared with a profit of $1.5bn for the same period last year.

Shares in Standard Chartered fell as much as 10% on Tuesday and were down 7% at 663.5p in late trading. The stock has fallen more than 30% this year.

Revenue fell 18.4% to $3.68bn and losses on bad loans almost doubled to $1.23bn for the quarter.

Analysts at Investec analysts described news the loss as "awful" given the expectation of a $903m profit, adding: "the worst aspect ... is a broad-based collapse in revenues".

There was further bad news as Standard Chartered said it was the subject of two investigations by the Financial Conduct Authority relating to monitoring of sanctions and anti-money laundering compliance.

The job cuts are part of a restructuring programme to take place over the next three years, but gave no details. The bank employs 86,000 people worldwide, but only about 1,800 in the UK.

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Image caption Standard Chartered sponsors Liverpool football club, which appointed Jurgen Klopp as its manager last month.

Bill Winters announced a strategic review of Standard Chartered when he took over as chief executive in June.

He put a new management team in place the following month and eliminated 1,000 senior management roles.

Analysts had been expecting the bank to seek additional capital to shore up its balance sheet and Mr Winters acknowledged the challenging business environment facing the bank.

"This is ... an aggressive and decisive set of actions to fundamentally shore up the underpinnings of the bank," he said on a conference call.

"We've tried to achieve a very high level of capitalisation to buffer ourselves against eventualities and we think we are very well capitalised to deal with any of the challenges that could come our way," Mr Winters added.

The bank was co-operating fully with the two FCA investigations, the chief executive said.

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Image caption Standard Chartered chief executive Bill Winters

Standard Chartered remains under investigation by US authorities related to transactions involving Iranian clients.

The bank was fined $667m in 2012 by US authorities to settle charges that it violated US sanctions by handling thousands of money transactions involving Iran, Myanmar, Libya and Sudan; and paid another $300m in August last year for failing to detect possible money-laundering.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, told Radio 4's Today programme that banks were being compelled to have bigger buffers to withstand future fiscal shocks - especially in Asia where banks such as Standard Chartered and HSBC were particularly exposed.

His concern was that Standard Chartered was "way behind the curve" on cutting costs.


Analysis: Kamal Ahmed, business editor

At the bottom of page 8 of the voluminous slide pack presentation offered to investors this morning by Standard Chartered is this telling sentence: "The Bank of England will publish the results of its 2015 stress tests on 1 December, including the results for the group, the outcome of which is unknown to the company and not yet finalised."

The Bank's work is focused on what could happen in the event of a significant collapse in the Chinese economy and a subsequent global downturn.

Its effect will be most acute on the UK's two banks most focused on the Asian market: HSBC and Standard Chartered.

Bill Winters, the Standard Chartered chief executive, appears keen to get his capital raising punch in first. He has also made it clear he wants Standard Chartered to compete on international renminbi trading, which the bank believes will become a reserve currency up against the US dollar.

Mr Winters has moved before the Bank of England sticks its weighty oar in.


Growing regulatory costs and controls in the wake of the financial crisis have weighed on big lenders in the UK, US and Australia.

Standard Chartered has already shed some businesses, in Hong Kong, China and Korea, to help improve its capital position.

Among the plans announced on Tuesday, Standard Chartered said it would invest more than $1bn to reposition its retail banking, private banking and wealth management businesses, as well as upgrade its Africa franchise and yuan services.

The rights issue had the backing of Temasek, Singapore's state investment firm and Standard Chartered's largest shareholder.

Hugh Young, managing director at Aberdeen Asset Management, the bank's second-biggest shareholder, said: "[There is] still a lot of hard work to put in but the path is clear."

The rights issue, Standard Chartered's first since 2010, will be launched on Tuesday at a price of 465p a share - a 35% discount to its closing price on Monday. Two new shares will be issued for every seven existing shares.

The bank has also axed the final dividend for this year to conserve cash.

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