Standard Chartered Will Cut Back in Less-Profitable Markets

Standard Chartered Plc, the U.K. bank that makes three-quarters of its earnings in Asia, is to review its businesses to cut back or withdraw from less-profitable markets.

“We are sharpening our focus,” Chief Executive Officer Peter Sands, 51, told analysts and investors in a presentation in London today. “There are pieces of our portfolio, whether very small geographies, or businesses that lack strategic synergies with other parts of the bank, that we are evaluating very carefully.”

The lender, based in London, doesn’t expect to hit its target to grow revenue by at least 10 percent for the next “couple of years,” Sands said. The bank had already said it wasn’t likely to meet the goal this year after writing down the value of its Korean business by $1 billion in the first half.

Standard Chartered left consumer banking in Japan last year and is selling a similar business in Lebanon, Sands said.

The lender would follow Asia-focused HSBC Holdings Plc in selling businesses that are unprofitable or don’t provide opportunities for other units. HSBC CEO Stuart Gulliver plans to cut an additional $3 billion of expenses after beating an earlier target. He has closed or sold 60 businesses and eliminated 46,000 jobs since the start of 2011.

Standard Chartered in August posted a 24 percent drop in first-half profit to $2.18 billion. It said at the time that Korea’s personal debt rehabilitation program had spurred a jump in loan impairments. The bank remains committed to the market, he said.

-- Editors: Jon Menon, Simone Meier

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