Standard Chartered to raise $1.6b in shares

Standard Chartered Plc, the U.K. bank that earns almost all its income in emerging markets, plans to raise 1 billion pounds ($1.69 billion) in a share sale to take advantage of “strategic opportunities.”

The bank’s first-half profit rose to $1.88 billion, compared with $1.79 billion a year-earlier, London-based Standard Chartered said today in a statement. That beat the $1.82 billion median estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

“We do see this crisis as a strategic opportunity to deepen our relationships with clients, to win market share and to transform our competitive position,” Chief Executive Officer Peter Sands in the statement. “That is our goal.”

The bank said last month it had a record operating profit in wholesale banking unit as bond sales and commodities trading surged. HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s biggest bank, and Barclays Plc, the U.K.’s second-biggest, said yesterday profit at their securities units doubled, helped by record bond sales in the period.

Standard Chartered advanced 1.1 percent to 1,436 pence in London trading yesterday, valuing the ban at 28 billion pounds. The lender has gained 64 percent this year, making it the second best performer in the FTSE 350 Banks Index after Barclays Plc. The index has gained 21 percent in the period.

Standard Chartered bought Cazenove Asia Ltd. from JPMorgan Cazenove Ltd. in November to help expand its equity capital markets and institutional brokerage business. The acquired unit comprising 150 people, offers clients financing, distribution, equity research and advisory services.

Earnings at Standard Chartered’s wholesale unit were pared by a drop income at its consumer unit, where the bank has cut about 3,000 jobs. Consumer banking head Steve Bertamini, who joined the bank in May last year, is trying to boost revenue and profit at the unit by expanding in private banking.

Unlike Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc, Standard Chartered avoided a government bailout, and raised $1.8 billion last year to increase capital and buffer against bad debts.

The bank last month named John Peace, formerly chairman of Experian Plc, the world’s largest credit-checking company, as chairman to replace Mervyn Davies, who left in January to join the U.K. government as minister for trade promotion and investment.

Source: Bloomberg

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