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Company : Standard Chartered Bank 
Wednesday, February 16, 2005 5:56PM IST (12:26PM GMT)
 
Standard Chartered Plc Results for the Year Ended 31 December 2004
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Results:

-- Profit before tax rose 39 per cent to $2,158 million from $1,550 million* in 2003.
-- Net revenue up 13 per cent to $5,367 million from $4,740 million* in 2003.
-- Normalised cost income ratio at 53.5 per cent (2003: 53.6 per cent*).
-- Debt charge down 60 per cent to $214 million (2003: $536 million).
-- Normalised earnings per share up 40 per cent at 125.9 cents (2003: 90.1 cents*).
-- Normalised return on equity reaches 20.1 per cent (2003: 15.7 per cent*).
-- Annual dividend per share increased by 10.6 per cent to 57.5 cents.

Significant achievements

-- Record profits exceeding $2 billion for the first time driven by good revenue growth and excellent risk management.
-- Consumer Banking and Wholesale Banking each achieved $1 billion in operating profit.
-- Achieved Return on Equity goal of 20 per cent.
-- Incorporated Hong Kong operations to help expansion in China.
-- Made significant progress on acquisitions and alliances - Korea First Bank, Bank Permata, Bohai Bank and PrimeCredit.
-- Raised 20 per cent of funds necessary to achieve Corporate Responsibility target of restoring sight to 1 million people.

Commenting on these results, the Chairman of Standard Chartered PLC, Bryan Sanderson, said: "I am delighted to be reporting on another successful year for Standard Chartered. We have demonstrated our ability to drive good revenue growth and continue our strong profit momentum. At the same time, we have achieved a number of significant acquisitions and alliances that will enable us to expand in key markets and products."
* Comparative restated (see Notes to Editors).

STANDARD CHARTERED PLC – CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT

I am delighted to be reporting on another successful year for Standard Chartered. We have demonstrated our ability to drive good revenue growth and continue our strong profit momentum. At the same time, we have achieved a number of significant acquisitions and alliances that will enable us to expand in key markets and products.

In addition, the incorporation of our business in Hong Kong will enable us to take advantage of the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement with China. This will open up further opportunities for us in the Pearl River Delta region.

2004 Results

Our primary focus is on performance. We have continued to build on our track record.

We have seen improvement in all our key financial metrics. There has been broad based revenue growth in almost all our geographies and our bad debt performance has been excellent. Profit before tax is up 39 per cent, supported by revenue growth of 13 per cent. Our profits have nearly doubled in three years. We have again achieved excellent earnings per share growth of 40 per cent and we have achieved our return on equity goal of 20 per cent, on a normalised basis.

As a result of 2004's performance, the Board is recommending a dividend of 57.5 cents.

Positioned for growth

We are confident that this broad and balanced growth is sustainable. We are well positioned for growth in the future having achieved a number of strategic goals.

Last year, we acknowledged that there were a number of markets and product sectors where we needed to build a bigger presence.

In 2004, we added a number of acquisitions and alliances complementing our organic 30growth. Most recently, we entered into an agreement to acquire Korea First Bank for approximately Korean Won (KRW) 3.4 trillion ($3.3 billion), which we have financed with a placing of Standard Chartered PLC ordinary shares for approximately GBP 1.1 billion ($2 billion) together with other funding resources. This acquisition is still subject to regulatory approvals. However, it is very clear that this will be a new engine of earnings growth for the Group. We will be a partner in Bohai Bank, a unique opportunity to start a new national bank in China. Through a consortium with PT Astra International Tbk, we also acquired a controlling interest in PT Bank Permata Tbk, Indonesia's sixth largest bank. Completing the transfer of the ANZ project finance team will deepen our Wholesale Banking expertise, while PrimeCredit in Hong Kong gives us access to the consumer banking sub-prime sector.

Each of these will give us competitive advantage in our chosen markets.

Corporate Governance

We believe good governance and good performance reinforce each other. In the past year there has been an intensified focus on regulation in the financial services industry and we are working even more closely with our regulators around the world.

I have also placed great importance on reinforcing our Board strength. During 2004, we announced the appointment of three new high-calibre Non-Executive Directors: Jamie Dundas, Oliver Stocken and Val Gooding. Their appointments extend the skills base of the Board and add further to its existing diversity.

We have a Board which provides a good balance of support and challenge to the Bank's senior management.

Jamie Dundas has an outstanding record in areas relevant to Standard Chartered, including experience in Hong Kong and a background in banking.

Former Barclays Group Finance Director, Oliver Stocken is Deputy Chairman of 3i PLC, and has wide experience as a company director. Val Gooding, chief executive of BUPA and a non-executive director at Compass Group PLC, brings marketing and brand expertise to the Group. She was previously with British Airways, her final role being Director, Asia Pacific.

I would like to thank Lord Stewartby, Sir Ralph Robins and David Moir who retired from the Board in 2004. Lord Stewartby left after 14 years of service to the Group, most recently as non-executive Deputy Chairman, the Senior Independent Director and the Chairman of the Audit and Risk Committee.

Sir Ralph had over 15 years of service on our Board. David was with Standard Chartered for 46 years and made an invaluable contribution, including as Chairman and Director of Standard Chartered Nakornthon Bank in Thailand and Deputy Chairman and Director of Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Berhad.

I would like to thank them all for the tremendous guidance and support they have given.

Corporate Responsibility

2004 ended on a tragic note for the world when the Asian Tsunami struck after Christmas. We operate in five of the countries most affected by the Tsunami. Sadly, two of our staff were lost in the Tsunami and a number of our staff have lost family members.

I am proud of the way our staff responded to this crisis. Staff donations are over $450,000. Because of the scale of this disaster, Standard Chartered has made an initial corporate $5 million donation to relief funds.

We are also making good progress with our Seeing is Believing campaign and so far have achieved 20 per cent of our target of raising funds to restore the sight of one million people suffering from curable blindness. We are also actively promoting our Living with HIV programme, to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS.

However, corporate responsibility is about more than community support. We have established a Corporate Responsibility Committee, which I chair. This Committee works to align business strategy with the corporate responsibility aspirations of the Group. Our approach to corporate responsibility has become an integral part of our values as a company.

In summary

2004 has been a year of significant progress. We have built on our track record of performance, establishing good growth momentum. We have achieved a number of strategic goals. As a result, we are now a stronger bank with a more diversified earnings base.

Bryan Sanderson CBE Chairman
16 February 2005

STANDARD CHARTERED PLC – GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE'S REVIEW

2004 has been a good year for the Group. We have momentum and scale in our markets and we are pleased with the strategic progress we have made.

Over the last three years, we have pursued a focused agenda.

We set ourselves ambitious performance goals and have consistently delivered against them. We have strengthened the infrastructure and technology of the Bank; we have developed a robust risk management capability; we are reinvigorating our brand; we have increased staff engagement and deepened our talent pool. Our organic, broad based growth has given us the shareholder support and confidence to make acquisitions and alliances.

During 2004, we delivered against a balanced scorecard of growth and performance. Profit before tax was $2,158 million, a 39 per cent increase from $1,550 million. Return on equity rose from 15.7 per cent to 20.1 per cent. Cost-income ratio improved to 53.5 per cent. Earnings per share saw an increase from 90.1 cents to 125.9 cents. All these figures are on a normalised basis.

For the first time, both our Wholesale and Consumer Banking businesses produced more than $1 billion each in operating profit.

We are in dynamic markets and at the core of our strategy is organic growth. We will supplement this organic growth with selective acquisitions and alliances that extend our customer or geographic reach, or broaden our product range.

Looking to the year ahead our industry faces a number of challenges: rising sophistication and regionalisation of local banks; new entrants including non-bank financial institutions; margin compression in many of our markets; increasingly demanding regulatory requirements; sophisticated customers demanding more for less; the risk of a major disruption from an unexpected event; and an unrelenting war for talent. Like all international businesses, retaining and attracting the best people in a highly competitive industry is always a challenge. Companies have to invest heavily in recruiting and developing the right talent.

Many of these challenges are not new. What is different today is the pace and intensity of change.

To compete successfully and grow, we need to be able to anticipate and react quickly to changes. We have to accept that different markets are at different stages of development so we need different strategies for them.

We have been disciplined on costs and processes and innovative on products. We are standardising our technology platforms and we are absolutely focused on customers. This enables us to be more nimble and able to anticipate and respond to the changing industry environment.

2005 PRIORITIES

Our strategic intent is to be the world's best international bank - leading the way in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. We have set out our top priorities for 2005:
-- Expand Consumer Banking customer segments and products
-- Continue Wholesale Banking transformation
-- Integrate Korea First Bank and deliver growth
-- Accelerate growth in India and China
-- Deliver further technology benefits
-- Embed Outserve into our culture

Consumer Banking

Consumer Banking is a business on the move, getting more innovative every year. It continues to grow its revenue base on the back of both good asset growth outside Hong Kong and an increase in non interest income from our wealth management business. Consumer Banking also benefited from a faster than anticipated reduction in personal bankruptcies in Hong Kong.

There was strong performance in many markets, reflecting our increasingly broad based geographic and product mix. Our challenge is to invest at the right pace in growing markets and, at the same time, increase productivity and innovation in our more mature markets like Singapore and Hong Kong.

We are seeing returns on our investments in product capabilities, network expansion and systems. For example, our Consumer Banking business in the Middle East and South Asia (MESA) region enjoyed revenue growth of 23 per cent in 2004, following significant investment in the second half of 2003.

Innovative products have also set us apart in many of our markets. A good example is Manhattan Card. Manhattan is the first credit card in India and Singapore to have risk-based pricing. It is an example of customer segmentation driving product innovation. With our recent launch in three cities in India, we now have approximately 120,000 cards in issue outside of Hong Kong, and 620,000 in Hong Kong. We will launch
Manhattan in three more cities in India in the next few months.

MortgageOne is another example. This portfolio grew over 50 per cent in Hong Kong and accounts for 80 per cent of new mortgage sales in Malaysia.

Innovation in channels is also proving an important contributor to growth.

In the Republic of Korea (Korea), we have an innovative approach to customer service. Our personal loans sales staff use a bus to travel to local neighbourhoods, bringing our sales people and personal loan products directly to our customers' doorstep. Such innovation on distribution channels has become a big part of Standard Chartered, and we will continue to offer new and original ideas and approaches across all our markets.

Looking ahead, we will increase customer segmentation to grow key segments such as youth and the international banking sector.

We will increase the size of our Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) business. Our Priority Banking offering will be expanded in our key markets and we will be looking at opportunities to extend the reach of our consumer finance business across Asia following our acquisition of Advantage Limited (PrimeCredit) in Hong Kong.

Wholesale Banking

In 2004, our Wholesale Banking business enjoyed a year of robust revenue performance. We have executed well on the strategy we laid out a few years ago and delivered on our promises.

Overall operating profit for Wholesale Banking is up by 28 per cent. We have grown revenues by 14 per cent and, significantly, customer revenues by 19 per cent.

Disciplined investments in key sales and control functions have delivered good results across all geographies, products and all four of our customer segments. We have deepened our customer relationships and are now a top three bank to 25 per cent of our customers.

However, there is still room to further improve cross-sell ratios and strengthen our product capabilities. The acquisition of the ANZ project finance portfolio is one example of how we are doing this.

The emergence of China and India as economic powerhouses is changing the dynamics of trade and new trade corridors are opening, particularly between our markets.

Our acquisition of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation's business in India gives us a strong position in the trade corridor between Japan and India and our network in the Middle East and Africa will also prove important in giving us leverage as trade corridors change.

On-going initiatives and integration of our acquisitions will greatly benefit our Wholesale Banking business, adding to the many opportunities we see to continue to grow revenues, which we will do within our usual jaws discipline and paced capital growth.

STANDARD CHARTERED PLC – GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE REVIEW

KOREA FIRST BANK

Our recent acquisition of Korea First Bank, subject to regulatory approval, is the biggest in the history of Standard Chartered. We will execute it well and build our presence in Korea, expanding our reach in Asia.

The scale of opportunities in Korea is tremendous. It is the world's 10th largest economy, Asia's third largest and its economy is expected to grow by four per cent in 2005. Korea's banking sector generates a revenue pool over three times the size of Hong Kong.

Korea First Bank is the seventh largest banking group in Korea by assets, with a market share of approximately six per cent and over three million retail customers. It has one of the lowest levels of non-performing loans in the industry.

We have appointed an experienced integration team in Korea. We are building relations with the regulators, labour unions, the local community and the staff of Korea First Bank. These are important relationships to us.

Retaining key management talent is also very important and we are pleased with the quality of senior management in Korea First Bank.

Full year results for Korea First Bank will be announced in March. We will give more details at our interim results following completion of this acquisition. In advance of this, the following gives a flavour of potential synergies.

Korea First Bank Consumer Banking

Korea First Bank has the country's fifth largest distribution network. It has over 400 branches located throughout the country and 2,100 ATMs. In a country with 60 per cent internet penetration, it has a user-friendly internet banking platform, and a strong mobile banking business.

An example of one opportunity is our personal loan product, which can be introduced to Korea First Bank.

With our strong credit scoring system and our tested instalment loan product, we have grown personal loans into an almost $200 million business, in just one year. Korea First Bank's own instalment loan business is relatively small and we have built our business from just one branch. We see good potential in distributing this through Korea First Bank's branch network.

Our success in personal loans has been due to excellent customer segmentation, good credit quality, driven off credit bureau data, and innovative distribution channels, like the sales bus mentioned earlier.

Korea First Bank Wholesale Banking

Standard Chartered will build a leading Wholesale Banking franchise in Korea by leveraging our international network, product capability and management processes as well as Korea First Bank's customer base.

One example of a growth opportunity is fee-based income. At Korea First Bank, non-interest income represents less than 25 per cent of total revenues - at Standard Chartered this is over 40 per cent.

Building a trade and cash management business will be a key priority – we can leverage our international network and products to generate new fee income.

In parallel, we will strengthen Korea First Bank's Global Markets product capability, developing the necessary infrastructure as well as training for staff.

We see good opportunities in foreign exchange and derivatives as well as in debt capital markets.

It is clear there are significant revenue opportunities and the combination of our expertise with that of Korea First Bank will help realise the opportunities we see in the market. We are now even more confident that this acquisition will be EPS accretive in 2006.

India and China

India and China are our two biggest long-term opportunities. We are well on track in both these markets.

With 10 new branches, taking our total network to 75 branches in 27 cities, we are the largest international bank in India. We have focused on growing our distribution network and asset base, as well as broadening revenue streams. As a result, we have strong market share in mortgages, credit cards, wealth management, fixed income and trade finance in India.

We are investing heavily in India because we see the scale of the opportunity. Our focus on growing our customer base and expanding revenue may slow the pace of operating profit growth in the short term, but it will put us in a strong position to benefit in the medium term. There is no doubt that we can build on our position as the leading international bank in India.

In China, our strategy has three strands: organic growth, strategic investments and taking advantage of opportunities in the Pearl River Delta. We are growing revenues at over 30 per cent per annum and we have strengthened our network with additional Renminbi (RMB) licences in Xiamen, Beijing and Nanjing. We now have five RMB licences and we are allowed to conduct RMB business with local corporates in 13 cities.

We have also added a branch licence in Guangzhou. Our ambition is to remain a leading bank in China.

In parallel with this organic growth, we have signed a framework agreement to take a 19.99 per cent stake in Bohai Bank - the first bank with a national licence for many years. This will be the first time that a foreign bank has been allowed to participate and take a management role in the establishment of a national bank.

Bohai Bank will be able to open branches and sell products throughout China and we will be a significant part of this exciting new bank.

When we mention our business in China we have to talk about Hong Kong, which is now very much a regional hub, integral to developing opportunities in China.

We have seen a good performance in Hong Kong and the outlook for the economy is good. Overall, consumer confidence is being restored. We are seeing inflation for the first time in many years, and unemployment is down. A rise in tourism, with 21 million visitors in 2004, and more than 24 million expected in 2005, will continue to help the economy.

But margin compression is increasing, and loan demand is not growing as fast as the economy. We are focusing on productivity to ensure we have the capacity to grow in a maturing market. We believe that our strategy in Hong Kong will pay off.

Delivering technology benefits

Across the industry, the key themes are data centre consolidation, security, service delivery channels for customers, and pressure to reduce telecommunications costs. We will continue our efforts to ensure we can stay ahead of changes in the industry.

Improvements in our technology platform have underpinned much of our ability to grow.

Our Global Shared Service Centres in Chennai and Kuala Lumpur continue to develop scale and efficiencies. We estimate that our Shared Service Centres have generated annual cost savings of $80 million. We have created economies of scale and tighter control has meant our technology production costs are down year-on-year. This has created capacity for increased investment in business applications and infrastructure.

The stability and efficiency of our operations have been enhanced. Moving forward, we will continue to emphasize standardizing technology as we migrate to a lower cost and modern core-banking platform globally.

We have completed our Know Your Customer roll out and we have migrated our platforms to meet changing reporting requirements under International Financial Reporting Standards.

Outserve

In line with our brand promise to be The Right Partner, we believe that service will be a differentiator for us in an increasingly competitive banking industry.

To this end, we began a series of internal initiatives in 2004 to build our service culture and processes. We call these initiatives "Outserve" and we believe it will have a profound impact on our shareholder value.

Outserve comprises four key components: the voice of the customer, process improvements, metrics and measurements, change management and communication.

We have taken the best methodologies on Voice of Customer, and developed an improved model tailored to our industry and market needs.

Our service metrics include over 100 indicators to monitor every aspect of the customer experience.

We are managing culture change and improving the way we communicate about customers.

Our top 220 leaders in the company, including myself, are completing First Hand Days, where we experience somebody else's job on the front line to understand service issues and remove blockages to improved service.

We are obsessive about our customer service and will use this as a source of distinction because we believe that our Outserve initiative will create revenue, reduce customer attrition and create value.

OUTLOOK

We have had a strong performance in 2004 and the revenue momentum into 2005 is good.

Both of our businesses have good growth potential and we have robust controls in place.

We continue to make progress towards our ambitious goals to be a leader in India and China. The smooth integration of Korea First Bank is a high priority.

We will continue to produce strong profit growth for our shareholders in the short term. However, we will also focus on building a long term sustainable business.

Overall, Standard Chartered is in good health and we are
optimistic about the future.

Mervyn Davies CBE Group Chief Executive
16 February 2005

Notes to Editors

Restatement of Comparative Figures

a) The Group has fully adopted the accounting requirements of FRS17 - Retirement Benefits. FRS17 replaces Statement of Standard Accounting Practice (SSAP) 24 and Urgent Issue Task Force (UITF) Abstract 6 as the accounting standard dealing with post-retirement benefits. The standard is being introduced in the UK in stages, starting with disclosures in the notes to the accounts. The full requirements of the standard are not mandatory until reporting periods starting on or after 1 January 2005, however early adoption is encouraged. The Group has adopted the standard one year early as there is now more certainty that similar requirements will be incorporated within IFRS, under which the Group will report for reporting periods starting on or after 1 January 2005.

The new standard requires the Group to include the assets of its defined benefit schemes on its balance sheet together with the related liability to make benefit payments net of deferred tax. The profit and loss account includes a charge in respect of the cost of accruing benefits for current employees and any benefit improvements. The expected return of the schemes' assets is included within other income less a charge in respect of unwinding the discount applied to the scheme's liabilities.

Under SSAP24 the profit and loss account included a charge in respect of the cost of accruing surplus benefits for the current employees offset by a credit in respect of the amortisation of the surplus in the Group's defined benefit schemes. A net pension prepayment was included in the Group's balance sheet.

A prior year adjustment has been made reducing shareholders' funds at 31 December 2003 by $202 million to reflect the revised policy.

The effect of this change on the profit and loss account for the year ended 31 December 2004 has been to introduce other finance income of $10 million (2003: $13 million charge), and to decrease administrative expenses by $16 million (2003: $30 million decrease). Profit before tax has been increased by $26 million (2003: $17 million increase).
The effect on the Group's balance sheet at 31 December 2004 has been to include a provision for defined benefit schemes of $110 million (2003: $124 million), to reduce prepayments and accrued income by $60 million (2003: $81 million) and to reduce shareholders' funds by $183 million (2003: $202 million).

b) The cost recognition policy for the Group has been revised for share schemes to reflect their usage as long term incentive plans, in accordance with the Urgent Issues Task Force 17 Employee Share Schemes.

In previous years costs have been recognised on an up front basis. From 2004 the Group will spread the cost of share schemes over the performance/vesting period. The effect of this change on the profit and loss account for the year ended 31 December 2004 has been to decrease staff costs by $14 million before tax (2003: $9 million increase staff costs). Shareholders' funds have been increased by $10 million (2003: $16 million).

 
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