Standard Chartered pre-tax profit up 16% in Q3

by AFP/ pic by BLOOMBERG

HONG KONG – Standard Chartered beat expectations to record a 16 percent jump in pre-tax profit in the third quarter and said Wednesday that revenue rose in Hong Kong despite months of protests in its major market.

The lender said it earned $1.24 billion before tax in July-September, against forecasts for a drop, though chief executive Bill Winters warned of “a challenging external environment”.

The results put the London-based firm on course for its fourth-straight year of profit under Winters, having scored its first annual loss for more than a quarter of a century in 2015 owing to bad debts and fines for misconduct.

It said revenues jumped seven percent in the period, with Hong Kong – a major source of income – also enjoying a pick-up as the bank weathered months of sometimes violent protests that have rocked the city and likely sent its economy into recession.

Net profit came in at $772 million, slightly up from $752 million in the same quarter last year.

It also reported that revenue rose by a fifth in Europe and the Americas, days after HSBC announced it was underperforming in those regions and warned of a tough outlook.

In a statement with the results on Wednesday, Winters said: “Our strategy of the last few years has progressively created a stronger and more resilient business.

“The continuing execution of that strategy remains our priority, enabling us to face the more challenging external environment confidently.”

The bank posted an 8.6 percent return on tangible equity, a key profit target, but said it hoped to increase that to 10 percent by 2021.

The firm’s shares rose 2.7 percent in afternoon trade in Hong Kong.

Bloomberg News contributed to this story