BRANCH BANKING | Staff Reporter, China

StanChart on track for 10th year of record earnings

Asia-centric Standard Chartered PLC expects its income to rise by over 10% this year.

StanChart posted its ninth consecutive year of record earnings in 2011 due to strong growth in Hong Kong and Singapore. It is expected to extend that to a 10th year this year with profits expected to hit US$7.5 billion, up 10%.

The bank revealed a10% increase in its operating profit for this first quarter. StanChart generates about four-fifths of its income in Asia.

The London-based multinational banking and financial services company will cut costs while opening more branches in China and adding some 2,000 more employees around the world. It currently operates 86 branches in China and will open its 100th this year.

"We have real momentum and we have significant investment capacity, so we will accelerate investment over and above what we budgeted," said Richard Meddings, Finance Director.

Meddings said currency volatility should ease in the second half of the year and that tougher regulations would remain a drag on revenue growth.

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