Business Hong Kong

HSBC profits up 28% at US$5.9 bn in third quarter

Banking giant HSBC said on Monday that pre-tax profit rose 28 percent to US$5.92 billion in the third quarter, boosted by “strong revenue growth” in its main global businesses.

Adjusted pre-tax profit rose 16 percent year-on-year to US$6.2 billion, reflecting revenue growth that was partly offset by a rise in operating expenses, the bank said. That beat analysts’ estimate of US$5.73 billion, according to Bloomberg News.

“The strong revenue environment continues to enable us to invest in growth and in the simplification of the organisation to make it easier for our customers to bank with us and for colleagues to do their jobs,” said chief executive John Flint.

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Photo: GovHK.

Shares in the bank were up 3.88 percent at HK$62.85 (US$8.01) and reached HK$63.75 at one point in afternoon trading, after the results were released.

Adjusted revenue climbed almost nine percent to US$13.84 billion in July-September, up from US$12.72 billion in the same period in 2017.

The Asia-focused banking giant has been on a recovery and huge restructuring drive in recent years to streamline the business.

Flint said in June that he plans to invest up to US$17 billion primarily in growth and technology projects, with a particular focus on accelerating business in Asia.

He was promoted to the top job after serving as the lender’s head of retail banking and wealth management.

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File photo: In-Media.

Dickie Wong, executive director of research at Kingston Securities, said the “better than expected earnings will give a big boost to its share price”.

The London-based group should be able to weather the US-China trade conflict given its strong operating figures such as the cost efficiency ratio and favourable results in the last few quarters, Wong added, putting the bank “in a better shape compared to its peers”.

But he warned its lending and interest-related income could be affected by Hong Kong’s softening property market, as major banks in the financial hub have had to raise their lending rates in lockstep with the Federal Reserve and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

The improving global economy has led central banks around the world to either lift borrowing costs or at least consider lifting them as the decade of post-crisis easy money comes to an end.

After some strong profitable years under Stuart Gulliver before his retirement, HSBC earnings plunged in 2016 on huge writedowns and restructuring charges.

However, they rebounded strongly last year, in part thanks to a strong Asian performance.

After wide-ranging cutbacks that saw 50,000 jobs axed in an overhaul announced in 2015, the bank is now planning to hire again as it seeks new growth areas.

HSBC profits up 28% at US$5.9 bn in third quarter