Standard denies board split on independence

Standard Chartered, the international bank, yesterday denied its board was split on the question of independence.

Speaking at a presentation of the bank's annual results, Patrick Gillam, Standard's chairman, said the board was committed to the strategy of independence. "This is the unanimous view of the Standard Chartered board", he said. Malcolm Williamson, the chief executive, added, "And I can confirm that."

Recent reports had suggested Mr Williamson had made merger overtures to Martin Taylor, chief executive of Barclays. In contrast, Mr Gillam was reported to be in favour of independence.

Earlier this week, Standard Chartered issued a statement denying it was in merger talks. This followed weekend press reports that Mr Taylor and Mr Williamson discussed the possibility of a merger over dinner in an exclusive London restaurant.

There is still dispute between sources at the banks, however, about who broached the subject of a merger with whom. Sources at Standard Chartered have categorically denied that Mr Williamson brought up the possibility of a link-up. Sources close to Mr Taylor have suggested that the conversation was "not completely one-sided".

Standard Chartered shares finished the day up 124p at 882p. Analysts said the share price rise was due partly to the better-than-expected results and partly to the continued hope in some parts of the City that Standard Chartered could still forge links with a UK banking rival.

Headline pre-tax profits at the bank were flat at pounds 870m, largely because of sizeable provisions for bad debts in Asia. However, analysts were cheered by the strong underlying profit growth, by hints of future acquisitions in the Middle East and in Asia, and by the bank's apparently prudent approach to the Asian crisis.

The bank made specific provisions for the crisis of pounds 201m in 1997. It also added pounds 100m to its general, unspecified debt provisions.

Tim Sykes, analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston, said: "They understand their market and their business mix is very focused on certain areas, like trade finance and consumer lending."

Peter Wood, finance director, said the bank had only lost money on foreign exchange on one day last year. That was on 2 July, the day when the Thai baht devalued.

Mr Gillam said: "Our 1997 results demonstrate our capacity to produce excellent results when our main markets in Asia are suffering considerable turmoil".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
News
Businessman at desk circa 1950s
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

Guru Careers: In-House / Internal Recruiter

£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...

Recruitment Genius: Tax Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea