JEDDAH: Standard Chartered Bank reported its biggest half-year operating profit in the Middle East and North Africa for five years as wealth management income increased and credit impairments fell.
The emerging market-focused lender posted an operating profit in MENA of $476 million in the six months to the end of June, up from $91 million a year earlier, it said in a statement. Globally, it reported a 57 percent increase in pretax profit to $2.55 billion, announced a $250 million share buyback and a $94 million dividend.
Income in the MENA region was flat year on year after being impacted by rate cuts and currency devaluation, which provided a drag of about 8 percent, the bank said. Income in Africa grew by 6 percent on a constant currency basis.
There was a significant improvement in the bank’s return on tangible equity in the region, and it reported a “great turnaround story in the UAE, with significantly improved returns.”
“This is the result of all the hard work the team has put in over the years and the execution of some tough decisions we made to drive efficiencies and reduce risk,” said Sunil Kaushal, regional CEO, Africa and Middle East. “This has happened during a period when the backdrop, while improving, remains uncertain and challenging and is a true testament to the resilience of our underlying business.”
“We are excited about the recent expansion of our network into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he said. “We will leverage our presence in the Kingdom to promote trade, investment and capital flows in support of the Saudi Vision 2030.”
Standard Chartered has launched digital banking platforms in nine key African Markets – Cote d’Ivoire, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Nigeria – the adoption of which has been accelerated by the pandemic, the bank said.