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Standard Chartered H1 profits up 15%

Standard Chartered, the Asia-focused UK bank, has posted a 15% increase in operating profit for the first half of 2006.

The bank, which makes two-thirds of its profits in Asia, reported an operating profit before tax of $1.53 billion for the six months ending June 30, up from $1.33 million during the same period in 2005. Total revenue was up 27% during the six month period.

The results were boosted by the full six months inclusion of SC First Bank in Korea, which it acquired for $3.5 billion in April 2005, along with strong income growth in India, the Middle East, Hong Kong, China and Malaysia.

The bank said cost growth would be broadly in line with income growth for the full year, while it plans to maintain its focus on expense management. Expense growth is expected to be broadly inline with income growth for the full year.

The group has recently been linked to the bidding for South Korea’s second largest credit card lender LG Card, in a country where the bank’s profits are soaring. However after narrowly exceeding analysts’ forecasts, the group is no longer considered to be part of the bidding race, Reuters has reported.

This is another strong performance and reflects the successful implementation of our strategy. Our broader geographic spread and product portfolio have increased our resilience to individual market events. We are confident in our ability to continue to deliver good returns to our shareholders, said Bryan Sanderson, chairman of Standard Chartered.