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HSBC in talks with Blom over Lebanese unit sale amid cost cuts

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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.

[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.

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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.

BLOOMBERG

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