Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) reported a 21 per cent increase in profits in 1994 to £184 million ($282 million).

The Middle East and South Asia accounted for pre-tax earnings worth £21 million ($32 million), mainly from business in India. However, the bank says increased bad debt provisions in the UAE during 1994 reduced trading profits for the Middle East and South Asia region to £33 million ($51 million).

The group’s increase in net profits was mainly due to revenue growth in commercial banking and lower operating costs, the bank says. The bank was also able to reduce charges for bad debts in most regions, setting aside a total of £122 million ($187 million) in 1994, down from £233 million ($350 million) a year earlier.

The board of directors has recommended a 33 per cent increase in the dividend for 1994 to £0.08 ($0.12) a share

The bank says its strategy in 1995 will include enhancing its historical position in the Middle East, particularly in the southern Gulf. The bank has branches in the UAE, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain.