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Standard Chartered bank says 2013 net profit down 16%

HONG KONG--Standard Chartered bank said Wednesday net profit fell more than 16 percent in 2013 and warned of a difficult first half for 2014 following significant challenges for its South Korean operations.

The London-based lender, which makes 90 percent of its profits in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, said net profit was US$3.99 billion last year, down 16.65 percent from US$4.79 billion in 2012.

Standard Chartered's South Korean retail bank suffered a US$1.0 billion write-down in its value, and produced lower revenue with higher bad loans during the year, culminating in a US$162 million operating loss.

Overall operating income fell one percent to US$18.67 billion in 2013, compared to the previous year, while annual profit before tax was down 11 percent to US$6.06 billion.

The results follow a decade in which the bank posted consecutive full-year profits.

“2013 was a challenging year, for the industry and for Standard Chartered,” said its chairman John Peace in a statement.

The bank said bad loans across its operations had increased by 35 percent year-on-year to US$1.62 billion.

“While our clients have remained very active, the overall outcome for the group has not been as good as we would have liked,” Peace said.

Consumer banking income for the group grew by two percent to US$7.18 billion, while wholesale banking income fell two percent to US$11.49 billion.

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