Standard Chartered Plc. said it plans to cut 15,000 jobs and raise about $5.1 billion in fresh capital through a rights offering on the back of a surprise loss in the third quarter as the company’s shares took a dive in Hong Kong Tuesday.
The U.K.-based lender cancelled its December dividend alongside the latest round of lay-offs as it tries to restructure about $100 billion or one-third of the bank’s businesses. The company recently completed a strategic review of its operations.
On the earnings front, the lender said lower commodity prices and a slowdown in the Chinese economy hurt its margins in the third quarter. The company posted a loss of $139 million compared to $1.69 billion in profit last year.
Standard Chartered, which generates most of its revenue in Asia, announced the sweeping cost cuts as it seeks to reverse the damage from ex-CEO Peter Sands’s expansion in emerging markets such as India, which has saddled it with delinquent debt, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The company also introduced a new risk-tolerance framework aimed at reducing the bank’s exposure to markets such as China and India as part of Wednesday's capital raising announcement.
Standard Chartered plans to use the fresh capital from the proposed rights offering to boost the bank’s balance sheet and fund a planned $3 billion investment over three years into "strategic opportunities." Temasek, the company’s largest shareholder, will take up about 16 percent of the shares in the rights offering, the company said.
A rights offer had been “only a matter of time,” said Andrew Clarke, director of trading at Hong Kong brokerage Mirabaud Asia Ltd., told Bloomberg, adding that the lender had “far too many issues” that it still needed to resolve.
Shares of the company fell as much as 6 percent in Hong Kong after the announcement. Standard Chartered has lost about half of its market capitalization in the last two years.