Profit Standard

LONDON, March 3, 2009 (AFP) – Emerging markets bank Standard Chartered said Tuesday that net profit jumped a fifth to 3.41 billion dollars (2.69 billion euros) in 2008, leaving it well-placed to face the global slowdown.

Despite the gain in profits after tax, Standard Chartered was not immune to rising bad debts linked to the credit crisis, writing off 1.79 billion dollars in 2008, more than double the 818 million dollars it wrote off in 2007.

The second-biggest British banking group by market value said it cut directors’ bonuses for 2008 by 10-25 percent and imposed salary freezes on all senior managers.

“To deliver record results in this exceptional environment is a great achievement,” acting chairman John Peace said in the group’s earnings statement.

Chief executive Peter Sands said the best way to continue delivering shareholder value was through Standard Chartered’s “rigorous focus on Asia, Africa and the Middle East” in addition to a “prudent approach to liquidity and capital (and) … continued discipline in cost and risk management.”

Sands said Asian banks were far better placed to withstand the financial crisis than their Western peers who have lost hundreds of billions of dollars and are