Standard Chartered posts surprise Q3 loss, announces $5bn rights issue
01:00, 03 november 2015
· Av CMC Markets
The recent decision in August to cut the dividend speaks to the problems new CEO Bill Winters inherited when he took over the bank earlier this year.
His assessment of previous management performance does rather beg the question as to why the previous management team wasn't culled sooner.
The sharp fall in first half profits announced in August along with an 8% fall in revenues and a sharp rise in impairments for bad loans was disappointing, but there had been widespread relief that the new CEO didn't announce a rights issue.
Given the continuing volatility seen in the period since August this was one issue that wasn’t going to go away and this morning’s announcement of just such an issue, to the tune of $5.1bn wasn’t too much of a shock, though the decision to bring it forward ahead of next month’s Bank of England stress tests was a surprise.
This is no doubt as result of today’s surprise Q3 loss of $139m loss, which was in contrast to an expected $900m. It was also well down on the same period last year where we saw a $1.5bn profit.
The bank also announced the loss of 15,000 jobs while the rights issue will be a two for seven at a discounted 465p a share.
The recent volatility in Chinese markets in August, the continued weakness in commodity prices is likely to continue to see bad loan impairments rise in the coming months, particularly in India, and that's even before you consider the effect a potential US rate rise next month may have on the banks' exposure in the region.
The bank has continued to drill down on costs with last week's announcement that it was closing its equity derivatives and convertible bonds business, and this morning pledged to focus on more “affluent retail clients” while pledging to dispose of $20bn of underperforming assets.
This appears to be have become a recurring theme for a lot of banks in recent years in the pursuit of the more lucrative wealth management area, unfortunately for Standard Chartered they are way behind the curve on this given that most banks in the US and Europe are already well ahead on their own restructuring plans in this regard.
It would appear that, like Deutsche last week, that Standard Chartered has belatedly realised that its old business model was broken, and now faces a struggle to catch up in a market where its competition has a significant head start.
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