Standard Chartered second-quarter profit more than doubles, resumes interim dividend payout

Standard Chartered, suspended their dividends, coronavirus pandemic, spurred a revolt among some investors, HSBC, removed “temporary guardrails”, statement

Standard Chartered, one of Hong Kong’s three currency-issuing banks, said its profit more than doubled in the second quarter as it joined larger crosstown rival HSBC in restoring its interim dividend to shareholders and said it would buy back US$250 million in shares.

The London-based bank and other United Kingdom lenders suspended their dividends last year at the request of the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), an arm of the Bank of England, to make sure they had enough capital on hand to support the economy in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The suspension spurred a revolt among some investors in Hong Kong.

Standard Chartered and HSBC, which both generate much of their revenue in Asia, were allowed to pay a modest dividend for full-year 2020 this year and the PRA removed “temporary guardrails” that restricted how much they can distribute to shareholders in July.

The emerging-markets focused bank said it would pay an interim dividend of 3 US cents a share. Analysts expect the bank to pay a dividend of 19.5 US cents a share over the course of the year, according to market consensus.

“We are encouraged by our financial results in the first half of this year, and the underlying business momentum, and are confident of a return to income growth in the second half,” Bill Winters, the bank’s CEO, said in a statement. “We believe that we will soon be back on the same performance trajectory that we were on before the pandemic set us back.”

In the second quarter, the lender’s pre-tax profit was US$1.15 billion, beating a consensus estimate of US$816 million, and an improvement over the US$741 million it reported a year earlier. On a net basis, Standard Chartered earned a profit of US$691 million in the second quarter, compared with a profit of US$339 million a year ago.

Shares of Standard Chartered declined as much as 2.4 per cent in Tuesday’s morning session in Hong Kong ahead of the announcement.

More to come …

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