SHARE

Standard Chartered, the Asia-focused UK bank, is to cut 15,000 jobs and raise $5.1bn (£3.3bn) to create a “lean, focused and well-capitalised” group.

About $3bn being raised in the rights issue will cover restructuring costs.

The strategic review was announced as Standard Chartered reported a “disappointing” third-quarter operating loss of $139m for the three months to September.

That figure compared with a profit of $1.5bn a year earlier.

Bill Winters, who replaced Peter Sands as Standard Chartered’s chief executive in June this year, announced a strategic review of the bank’s organisational structure when he took over.

He put a new management team in place in July and analysts have been expecting the bank to seek additional capital to shore up its balance sheet for some time.

Standard Chartered shares fell 4% on the Hang Seng stock exchange in Hong Kong.

‘Poised for growth’

Mr Winters acknowledged the challenging business environment within which the lender was operating.

Growing regulatory costs and controls in the wake of the financial crisis have weighed on big lenders in the UK, US and Australia.

Standard Chartered has already shed some businesses, in Hong Kong, China and Korea, to help improve its capital position.

Among its various plans outlined on Tuesday, Standard Chartered said a “step-up in cash investment” by more than $1bn would be used to help reposition its retail banking, private banking and wealth management businesses, as well as upgrade its Africa franchise and yuan services.

“This comprehensive programme of actions will result in a lean, focused and well capitalised international bank, poised for growth across our dynamic and growing markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East,” Mr Winters said.

Temasek, Singapore’s state investor and Standard Chartered’s largest shareholder, supported the share sale, the bank said.

Standard Chartered employs 86,000 people and makes about 90% of its profits from operations across Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

(BBC)