StanChart sees record 2010 profit as bad loans fall

StanChart sees record 2010 profit as bad loans fall

Hong Kong: Standard Chartered Plc said on Thursday that it expects to post record income and profit for this year, helped by falling loan impairments and growth in consumer banking.

Income in the second half of 2010 was expected to clock in at levels similar to the first six-month, the bank said in an update posted on the Hong Kong stock exchange website, before its regular year-end briefing later in the day.

“The group has continued to perform well, consistent with our expectations and guidance," the bank said in the statement. “Both businesses have performed well, with client income growth in wholesale banking very good and income in consumer banking showing good levels of growth."

The bank’s Hong Kong-listed shares were up 3.8% before it gave the update, but eased slightly after the midday trading break.

Standard Chartered reported a first-half profit of $3.12 billion as bad debts more than halved and its key Asian markets performed better than those in the West.

The fall in loan impairments was likely to have extended into the second half of this year, the bank said in the Thursday statement, and it expected bad loans to be significantly lower in 2010 compared with the previous year.

StanChart has been expanding aggressively in the wholesale and consumer banking areas, snagging several high-profile deals including as lead underwriter for McDonald’s Corp’s landmark 200 million yuan bond in Hong Kong earlier this year.

Cost growth would exceed income growth in the full year as a result of these new businesses, the bank said, adding that it also saw margin pressure from increased compliance costs and higher staff expenses.

Net interest margins were set to fall from 2009 due to pressure on asset margins across a number of different countries, it added.

Standard Chartered raised $5.3 billion from a rights issue in October, which it said would bolster its finances ahead of new capital rules and provide firepower to take advantage of new opportunities.

The bank’s London-listed shares have rallied 23% so far this year, massively outperforming a 20% fall by the broader European bank sector.