In this photo taken on Aug 3, 2020, a HSBC logo is pictured on a wall outside a branch of the bank in central London. (PHOTO / AFP)
HONG KONG – HSBC Holdings reported on Tuesday a better than expected tripling of quarterly profit, as rising interest rates worldwide boosted the lender's income and helped it pay a first quarterly dividend since 2019.
HSBC's strong performance comes against the backdrop of the global banking sector being rocked by the closure of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in March, as deposit flight from US lenders forced the Fed to step in with emergency measures, while Credit Suisse had to be rescued by UBS.
On Monday, regulators seized First Republic Bank and sold its assets to JPMorgan Chase & Co, in a deal to resolve the largest US bank failure since the 2008 financial crisis and draw a line under a lingering banking turmoil.
Europe's largest bank posted a pretax profit of $12.9 billion for the first quarter ended March, versus $4.2 billion a year earlier. The results were better than the $8.64 billion average estimate of 17 analysts compiled by HSBC
Europe's largest bank posted a pretax profit of $12.9 billion for the first quarter ended March, versus $4.2 billion a year earlier. The results were better than the $8.64 billion average estimate of 17 analysts compiled by HSBC.
HSBC's headline profit was boosted by a reversal of a $2 billion impairment it took against the planned sale of its French business, reflecting the fact that the deal may no longer go through.
It had warned last month that its France disposal could be in jeopardy over regulatory capital concerns for the buyer.
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The London-headquartered bank also reported a delay in the time frame for the completion of the sale of its Canada business, a key part of its strategy to shrink in slow-growing Western markets where it lacks scale.
The bank said the planned $10 billion sale, originally slated to be completed by the end of this year, will now only likely go through in the first quarter of 2024.
HSBC has tried recently to accelerate its pivot to Asian markets, in part to head off calls from its biggest shareholder Ping An Insurance Group Co of China to spin off the Asia unit to boost shareholder returns.
It announced a dividend of $0.10 per share, its first quarterly dividend since 2019, following calls of shareholders to increase the dividend payout.
The lender also flagged the first of a new cycle of buybacks of up to $2 billion.
READ MORE: HSBC pays dividend after quarterly profit beats estimates
HSBC, in common with other British lenders, reported deposit outflows for the quarter, if those it acquired by bailing out the local arm of failed US lender Silicon Valley Bank were discounted.
Big European banks have reported deposits falling as consumers faced with a cost of living crisis shop around for higher-paying products such as fixed-term deposits and investment funds.
Despite the surging profit, HSBC did not raise its key performance target of reaching a return on tangible equity of at least 12 percent from this year onwards, while analysts were estimating the key metric would be lifted.