STOCK Standard Chartered Bank
Globally, Standard Chartered posted a forecast-beating 6 per cent rise in first-quarter profit. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: Standard Chartered reported a 59 per cent growth in operating profit for the quarter ended March 31 in the Africa and Middle East region, it said on Thursday,

Operating profit for the quarter crossed $300 million for the first time in nearly a decade, the lender said.

Income grew by 16 per cent at constant currency driven by broad-based growth across products, while income-to-cost ratio stood at 9 per cent.

“This growth has been a result of the hard work and commitment of our team coupled with the execution of some tough decisions we made to drive efficiencies and reduce risk,” said Sunil Kaushal, Regional CEO, Africa and Middle East.

“As we move forward, the region is focused on executing swiftly against the bank’s strategy to drive our next phase of growth, while seamlessly simplifying our presence. We are excited about the scale of opportunities across the region, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia and continue to invest in digital capabilities across the region.”

Globally, Standard Chartered posted a forecast-beating 6 per cent rise in first-quarter profit.

The London-headquartered lender, which is focused on Asia, Africa and the Middle East, now expects income growth this year to slightly exceed earlier guidance of 5-7%, underlining how banks’ prospects are being lifted by policy rate hikes even as the global economic outlook dims.

“Given the very strong capital position, it is highly likely that StanChart can announce (a) further buyback along with second quarter earnings,” Citi analysts said in a note, adding that StanChart had reported solid results.

Statutory pretax profit for the bank increased to $1.49 billion in January-March, from $1.4 billion a year earlier. This compared with the $1 billion average estimate of 16 analysts as compiled by the bank.

“We are on track to deliver a 10% return on tangible equity by 2024, if not earlier,” Group Chief Executive Bill Winters said in the results statement on Thursday.

With inputs from Reuters