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HSBC says Q1 net profit more than doubles to $6.35 bn
by Staff Writers
London (AFP) May 07, 2013

Asia-focused bank HSBC announced on Tuesday that net profits more than doubled to $6.35 billion (4.86 billion euros) in the first quarter, aided by tumbling bad debts and cost cutting.

Earnings after taxation surged 146 percent in the three months to the end of March, from $2.58 billion in the same part of 2012, the lender said in a results statement.

Underlying pre-tax profits, stripping out exceptional items, soared 34 percent to $7.6 billion. Revenues rose five percent to $17.6 billion.

"We have had a good start to the year, with growth in reported and underlying profit before tax," said chief executive Stuart Gulliver in the earnings release.

He added: "While continuing uncertainty in the global economy has created a relatively muted environment for revenue growth, we have increased revenue in key areas including residential mortgages and commercial banking in both our home markets of Hong Kong and the UK, and in our financing and equity capital markets business.

"Loan impairment charges were lower in every region, notably in North America," he said, adding that the group was also lifted by its "continued focus on cost management".

Bad debts -- consumer loans that have turned sour -- sank 44 percent to $1.17 billion in the reporting period. That compared with $2.09 billion last time around.

The lender, which is Europe's biggest bank by market value, has axed more than 37,000 jobs since the end of 2010 in a huge restructuring.

Last year, meanwhile, the bank had posted a 16.5-percent slump in annual net profits as it was hit by US money-laundering fines, mis-selling scandals, rising taxation and a vast accounting charge.


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Outside View: Europe's depression
College Park, Md. (UPI) May 7, 2013
The whole of Europe is headed for a permanent recession - a depression. Austerity and labor reforms can't save it. Radical measures - abandoning the euro and deficit spending in Germany - are the only way out. Unemployment exceeds Great Depression levels in Spain, many parts of Greece, Portugal and Italy and is rising in northern Europe. Slashing government spending and labor ... read more

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