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StanChart H1 attributable profit rises YOY to $1.56B; interim dividend resumed

Standard Chartered PLC reported first-half profit attributable to parent company shareholders of $1.56 billion, up from $1.20 billion a year earlier.

EPS for the period was 40.2 cents, compared to the year-ago 29.2 cents.

Net interest income rose on a yearly basis to $4.36 billion from $3.97 billion. Net fee and commission income also increased to $1.87 billion from $1.73 billion.

Net interest margin stood at 1.6%, unchanged from the first half of 2017.

StanChart booked a credit impairment of $214 million in the six months ended June 30, down from the year-ago $655 million. Other impairment charges also declined year over year, to $50 million from $93 million.

Operating expenses increased year over year to $5.19 billion from $4.87 billion. The bank noted that expenses in the second half, excluding the U.K. bank levy, are expected to be similar to the first half of the year. The levy, which applies to certain U.K. banks and the U.K. operations of foreign banks, is charged in December and is estimated to be around $310 million.

Underlying return on equity was 6.7% at the end of June, up from 5.2% a year ago.

The British lender's common equity Tier 1 ratio stood at 14.2% as of June 30, up from 13.6% at the end of 2017 and 13.8% a year earlier. The U.K. leverage ratio was 5.8% at the end of June, compared to 6.0% at 2017-end.

Given the group's improved financial performance and strong capital position, the board recommended resuming an interim dividend at 6 cents per share. The bank did not pay an interim dividend in 2016.

StanChart noted it has achieved its four-year $2.9 billion gross cost efficiency target six months ahead of plan.