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Standard Chartered CEO Sees More Asian Listings

18 June, 2009

Hong Kong- and London-listed Standard Chartered is looking at further Asian listings to gain access to wider pools of capital and sees the current crisis as an opportunity to win market share, its CEO said on Thursday.

The Asia-focused bank had hired bankers for a possible India listing, banking sources said in April.

“We do always look at the potential for further listings, taking account of whether that helps us build our profile in a specific country or access new pools of capital,” Peter Sands, Standard Chartered’s chief executive, told a news conference on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, while adding that no decisions had been made yet.”

Asian stock markets have rebounded from March lows, with the MSCI index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan soaring 55 percent since early March.

Better-than-expected economic data has spurred hopes that the economy might be nearing a bottom.

Sands said Asia would have a shorter and shallower economic correction than the west, but cautioned that it was too early to call an end to the economic crisis, with data painting a mixed picture.

“We should expect to see… a lot of volatility in asset quality and foreign currency,” he said, adding that unemployment and corporate failures were expected to rise.

Sands declined to comment on Standard Chartered’s possible interest in the Asian assets of Royal Bank of Scotland, for which a source said last month that the London-based bank had not put in a bid by a deadline of around May 21.

“We will look at acquisition opportunities to support organic growth. But they have to be both financially compelling and they also have to be strategically attractive,” he said.

Standard Chartered bought a South Korean lender for $3.3 billion in 2005, which is now named SC First Bank. It will launch a financial holding company at the end of this month after it received final approval from South Korea on Wednesday.


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