London: The only UK bank trading at prices higher than a year ago, Standard Chartered Plc., said second half profit increased 23%, driven by lending in India, Hong Kong and West Asia.
Standard Chartered gained 4.4% in London trading after saying net income rose to $1.44 billion (Rs5,746 crore), or $1.02 a share, in the six months ended 31 December, from $1.18 billion, or $0.86, a year earlier. Standard Chartered chairperson Mervyn Davies said in a statement on Tuesday that he was confident the lender would “deliver another strong performance in 2008” even as a slowing US economy curbs growth in the global economy. London-based Standard Chartered, which gets 90% of its profit from Asia, Africa and West Asia, plans to raise its investments in emerging markets.
Speaking on its India business, Neeraj Swaroop, regional chief executive officer of India and South Asia, said that the country is now the second largest contributor to the profits of the group after Hong Kong. India now contributes 17%—up from 13% in 2006.
Swaroop said the India business has seen robust growth in areas such as corporate finance, foreign exchange, wealth management, small and medium enterprise financing, and business instalment loans.
Officials from the investment banking arm said they were confident the bank would continue to perform well in the country, especially on the wholesale banking side. The officials said Standard Chartered has built a strong client base in the mid-market segment in India and was now catering to their ambitions, be it foreign exchange transactions that need to be hedged or cross-border acquisitions.
On the commercial banking side, Standard Chartered wants to expand its wealth management and private banking business in India significantly in the near term, the bank’s officials said.
Gargi Banerjee of Mint contributed to this story from Mumbai.