Standard Chartered halves dividend, new CEO says could raise capital

Mr Winters, who became chief executive in June, said he could raise cash in the future as he assesses his business plan.
Mr Winters, who became chief executive in June, said he could raise cash in the future as he assesses his business plan. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

LONDON (REUTERS) - Standard Chartered halved its dividend and said it would raise capital externally if necessary as its new chief Executive Bill Winters outlined early plans to boost shareholder returns and rebuild capital after a 44 per cent slump in profits.

Standard Chartered cut its dividend for the first half of the year to 14.4 cents from 28.8 cents a year ago and said it would rebase the payout to reflect its "current earnings expectation and outlook".

Mr Winters, who became chief executive in June, said he could raise cash in the future as he assesses his business plan.

"If we decide we need capital for the long-term benefit of the Group, If we decide we need capital for the long-term benefit of the Group, we will raise capital," Mr Winters said.

The bank said its pretax profit in the first six months of the year fell to US$1.82 billion (S$2.50 million), down 44 per cent from a year ago.

Meanwhile, Standard Chartered Finance Director Andy Halford told reporters that the bank has cut 4,000 staff since the start of the year as part of its plan to streamline operations and cut costs, and said there could be further cuts.

"We are clearly intent on getting greater efficiency in the business, some of that will be headcount, some will be extra investment in technology," Mr Halford said on a conference call.