Standard Chartered to hand billions to shareholders as profits rise

Banking giant Standard Chartered has laid out plans to hand cash back to shareholders as it became the latest lender to reveal higher profits.

The Asia-focused bank launched a one billion US dollar (£800 million) share buyback and plans to return around five billion dollars (£3.95 billion) to shareholders over the next three years.

Standard Chartered, which has seen its share price drop a fifth over the past year, has been under pressure to improve its value and return cash to investors.

It came as the company reported a pre-tax profit of 5.7 billion dollars (£4.5 billion) for 2023, up 22% against the previous year.

In recent days, a number of other banks including NatWest and Lloyds have also revealed stronger profits.

Standard Chartered said on Friday that it was boosted by higher operating income, which rose 10% to 17.4 billion dollars (£13.7 billion) for 2023.

The firm said it benefited “not only from rising interest rates but also encouraging underlying business momentum” over the past year.

It also said its income-to-cost ratio has improved amid “good cost discipline”.

The bank also benefited from a decline in loan impairments, amid increased stability in the Chinese real estate sector.

Bill Winters, group chief executive, said: “We produced strong results in 2023, continuing to demonstrate the value of our franchise and delivering our financial objective of a 10% RoTE (return on tangible equity) for the year.

“We will now build on this success, taking action to deliver sustainably higher returns with a focus on driving income growth and improving operational leverage.”

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