Standard Chartered Falls as Dividends Stay Suspended

By Margot Patrick Features Dow Jones Newswires

Standard Chartered PLC said it isn't ready to start paying dividends again but will reconsider it at the end of the year.

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The Asia-focused bank's shares fell 4% after it said it still has a long way to go to improve returns, despite improvements in underlying profits.

First-half revenue rose to $7.2 billion from $6.8 billion a year earlier. Revenue in the second quarter met analysts' expectations, at $3.6 billion. Net profit for the first half climbed to $971 million from $465 million a year earlier.

The bank is in the throes of a multiyear cleanup after years of rampant growth fizzled out three years ago and exposed weaknesses. Chief Executive Bill Winters has been unloading bad assets and resetting the bank's culture since joining two years ago, but has said it will still take years to get Standard Chartered's return on equity to acceptable levels.

Underlying return on equity in the first half was 5.2%, the bank said Wednesday.

Before the results announcement, Standard Chartered shares were flat on the day in London trade. They slumped when the bank said there are still uncertainties to get through before it decides to restart dividends. It started reducing, then suspended dividends in 2015.

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Parts of Standard Chartered were in shaky shape when Mr. Winters took over from a former management team led by Peter Sands. In November 2015, he laid out a plan to cut jobs and relationships with unprofitable clients, and reduce costs. Standard Chartered's balance sheet ballooned in the 2000s as cheap credit from banks helped lift Asian economies.

Write to Margot Patrick at margot.patrick@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 02, 2017 05:31 ET (09:31 GMT)