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StanChart Asia CEO: ‘We’ve still had a good year’

Even as Standard Chartered posted an 11 percent on-year decline in pre-tax profit for 2013, the bank's Asia CEO told CNBC they are still in a position to dole out higher dividends.

The Asia-focused lender reported disappointing pre-tax profit of $6.06 billion on Wednesday, weighed by a $1 billion write down on its South Korean business. The results ended a decade of profit rises leading analysts to brand 2013 as the bank's "annus horribilis."

"I just want to put it in perspective. We've still had a very good year, we've made about $19 billion in income, [and] we made about $7 billion in profits. So we thought that the shareholders, who have put up with a lot, only deserve to have a dividend," Jaspal Bindra, chief executive officer for Asia told CNBC Asia's Squawk Box on Thursday.

(Read more: StanChart 'annus horribilis' ends decade of profit growth)

The London-headquartered bank, which makes 90 percent of its profit in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, said it would tackle profit losses by embarking on a restructuring strategy involving selling businesses that are too small or unprofitable, and by combining the bank's retail and wholesale businesses.

The bank also plans to cut its bonus pool by 15 percent to $1.2 billion as CEO Peter Sands said he would also be taking a hefty cut to his bonus.

"We cut the company bonus pool largely at the top end because it has to the reflect drop in performance in previous year, but it's under very difficult circumstances," added Bindra.

(Read more: Standard Chartered profits sag)

Jaspal Bindra, Standard Chartered Plc's chief executive officer for Asia, smiles during an interview in Hong Kong, China.
Bloomberg | Getty Images
Jaspal Bindra, Standard Chartered Plc's chief executive officer for Asia, smiles during an interview in Hong Kong, China.

Bindra said the Federal Reserve's withdrawal of quantitative easing was partly responsible for the bank's struggle last year, along with bearish sentiment towards emerging markets and problems in South Korea.

"Sentiment has weighed heavily away from the emerging markets, which we can't understand… In 2014 we are expecting the aggregate economic GDP (gross domestic product) growth to be 3.5 percent, versus 2.8 percent in 2013, so we're hopeful," he added.

Bindra reiterated StanChart's commitment to South Korea, despite the heavy losses the bank's operations in the country have cost them.

(Read more: Standard Chartered shake-up: Exec paid for quitting)

South Korea has been problematic for the London-based bank due to ongoing regulatory issues ever since it acquired First Bank for $3.3 billion in 2005 – its largest-ever acquisition.

"We want to stay in Korea. So we are not walking away – we are committed," he said.

"All we believe is over some period of time it's going to be a smaller part of the group… we are rationalizing our other exposures there… It's a very poor environment overall, there's high household debt, low labor growth and it's just very challenging," he added.

On Wednesday, StanChart's chief executive Peter Sands warned of a weak performance for the first half of 2014 following weak growth in the final quarter of last year.

— By CNBC's Katie Holliday: Follow her on Twitter @hollidaykatie

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