STOCK Standard Chartered Bank
Overall, Middle East (excluding UAE) saw strong income growth driven by Saudi Arabia while maintaining cost discipline. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: The London-based Standard Chartered reported “significant turnaround” in its UAE business with operating profit more than doubling on a year-over-year basis. Operating profit for the full year 2021 was $242 million, compared to $110 million a year earlier. The results were driven by cost reductions and “de-risking” actions.

“Positive macro-trends (oil, commodity and UAE property prices) are driving market opportunities, but challenges and uncertainties exist in the near term. We’re confident that the opportunities in the region will support long-term sustainable growth,” said the bank. Overall, Middle East operations (excluding UAE) saw income growth driven by Saudi Arabia, while maintaining cost discipline, resulting in a multi-year high level of operating profit.

Pakistan provides a boost

The bank said that Pakistan delivered its highest ever operating profit, driven by strong balance sheet growth and continued productivity improvements. “2021 was an exceptional year for us in the Africa and Middle East region. Our record financial performance demonstrates the progress made in the execution of our strategy,” said Sunil Kaushal, Regional CEO, Africa and Middle East.

Standard Chartered’s income in Africa grew by 9 per cent on a constant currency basis driven by the digital banking momentum and strong pipeline conversion. Income growth came despite lower interest rates, which impacted the bank’s cash management and retail businesses.

“Throughout the year, we accelerated our digital transformation, proudly expanding our digital banking network in Pakistan," said Kaushal. "Aligned to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s vision 2030, we have also expanded our presence in Saudi Arabia last year to provide project finance, capital markets and cash management support to promote trade and investments.”