HSBC in talks to sell $9 bil­lion Ping stake

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -


HSBC Hold­ings Plc is in talks to sell its $9 bil­lion stake in Ping In­sur­ance, China’s sec­ond­largest in­surer, as the UK bank sheds as­sets to re­vive profit growth. Europe’s largest lender by mar­ket value “is in dis­cus­sions which may or may not lead to the sale of the shares,” HSBC said in a state­ment on Mon­day. Ping shares fell as much as 3.5 per­cent in Hong Kong trad­ing, the big­gest drop since July 23. HSBC Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Stu­art Gul­liver’s at­tempts to cut costs have been ham­pered by probes into money laun­der­ing and com­pen­sa­tion claims, in­creas­ing pres­sure for as­set sales. The Lon­don-based lender agreed to sell some gen­eral in­sur­ance units in Asia and Latin Amer­ica ear­lier this year. “HSBC can rein­vest the pro­ceeds from the share sale in its or­ganic busi­ness in China,” said Wil­son Li, a Shen­zhen-based an­a­lyst at Guo­tai Ju­nan Se­cu­ri­ties Co. “That would ac­tu­ally gen­er­ate more ben­e­fits than the ex­ist­ing in­vest­ment in Ping An.”

The bank plans to sell all of its 1.23 bil­lion Hong Kong- traded shares in Ping An, which rep­re­sents about 40 per­cent of the in­sur­ance com­pany’s Hong Kong-traded shares and 15.6 per­cent of all Ping An stock, the Hong Kong Eco­nomic Jour­nal re­ported, cit­ing peo­ple it didn’t iden­tify. Charoen Pokp­hand Group, con­trolled by Thai bil­lion­aire Dhanin Chear­a­vanont, is in­ter­ested in buy­ing the stake, ac­cord­ing to the HKEJ re­port. Dhanin’s net worth is es­ti­mated at $6.1 bil­lion as of Nov. 16, ac­cord­ing to the Bil­lion­aires In­dex. HSBC gained 1.4 per­cent to 604.3 pence by 8:17 a.m. in Lon­don trad­ing.

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