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HSBC in talks with Blom over Lebanese unit sale amid cost cuts
[DUBAI] HSBC Holdings Plc has been in talks with Lebanon's Blom Bank SAL over the possible sale of its banking business in the country as the London-based lender cuts costs.
There's no certainty that a binding agreement will be reached and HSBC will make a further announcement if a deal is agreed, HSBC said in an e-mailed statement on Monday, without giving further details.
Chief executive officer Stuart Gulliver unveiled a three-year strategy last year to shrink HSBC's sprawling operations and reduce annual costs by US$5 billion, pledging to cut 25,000 employees.
HSBC was present in 71 countries at the end of 2015, down from 87 in 2011, according to its website.
In the Middle East, HSBC operates in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Algeria. In Saudi Arabia, the bank holds a 40 per cent stake in Saudi British Bank and a 49 per cent share in HSBC Saudi Arabia.
A planned sale of its unprofitable Turkish unit was scrapped earlier this year after the bank struggled to find a buyer, people with knowledge of the matter said in February.
HSBC Lebanon was established in 1946 and currently operates three branches in the country, employing around 200 people. It offers a full range of banking services to international retail and corporate clients, the bank said in the statement.