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01 August 2017, 10:51 | Ruby West
HSBC's first half 2017 pre-tax profit rises 5 per cent, announces USD 2 billion stock buyback
The bank reported a profit of $3.9 billion in the second quarter, compared with $2.5 billion in the second quarter of 2016.
The buyback was unveiled along with a 12% increase in adjusted pre-tax profit to US$12bn, beating consensus forecasts, or 5% to US$10.2bn on a reported basis.
Chief executive Stuart Gulliver said group revenue was down 11 per cent as the company sold off businesses it does not consider to be central to its long-term strategy.
The latest share buyback, of up to $2bn, comes as HSBC uses excess capital to offset the dilutive effect of shares paid out as dividends.
HSBC chairman Douglas Flint also used the bank's quarterly results to reiterate a warning that the fragmentation of the European banking industry to locations outside London would lead to increased costs and less financing for countries and corporations.
HSBC shares have performed strongly over the past year, as the decline in the value of the pound relative to the dollar has enhanced the value in sterling terms of the bank's overseas earnings.
The bank also announced a $2 billion share buyback for the second half of the year.
HSBC is the largest bank in Europe and presents an opportunity for investors to diversify away from banks that are more heavily weighted in North American markets. But on Monday he said that he could stay at the bank until December 2018, if an external candidate is appointed to take over. "Good credit control and good cost control and a very strong capital position".
The estimate, one of the most detailed yet by a major bank, includes the costs of relocating up to 1,000 jobs to the French capital as well as associated legal fees, Gulliver told reporters on a conference call. At the 2015 strategy day, Mr. Gulliver laid out an aim to get revenue growth in its global network above GDP, and said he tracks the estimated figure every two weeks.
HSBC has carried out two years of recovery measures to streamline its business, cutting tens of thousands of staff in the process. Mr. Flint is leaving in September and will be replaced by Mark Tucker, former CEO of AIA Group Ltd. Mr. Gulliver has said he would leave next year after a new CEO is named.
HSBC won approval last month in China to establish an investment banking joint venture with a state-backed fund, ending a 20-month wait, making it the first such venture in China to be majority-owned by a foreign bank.
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