Standard Chartered net profit flat in 2012

Standard Chartered net profit flat in 2012

HONG KONG - Standard Chartered on Tuesday said its net profit was flat in 2012, even after the British lender was hit by a huge fine for violating US sanctions on Iran and three other countries.

Net profit came in at US$4.79 billion (S$5.95 billion), compared to $4.75 billion in 2011, the London-based, Asia-focused lender said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Pre-tax profit rose one percent to $6.9 billion.

While income rose eight percent to $19.07 billion, profit was hit by the $667-million fine it was forced to pay US authorities last year to settle charges it violated US sanctions, the bank said.

"The $667 million settlements dented our profit growth and damaged our reputation," group chief executive Peter Sands said in a statement.

US authorities said last year the bank had stripped messages on financial transfers routed through US banks of information that would show the beneficiaries were businesses and entities that fell under US sanctions.

Sands said the slower economic growth in most of its markets, such as India and China, was another factor that dragged down its performance.

"The macroeconomic environment - normally a tailwind for us, given the markets we are in - also proved quite challenging in 2012," he said.

Business slowed in India with revenue falling 12 per cent last year, Sands noted, although he sounded optimistic saying that the "mood in India has changed noticeably since last summer" and investor activity "undoubtedly picked up".

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