Feb 23, 2016

    HSBC share price slumps after reporting Q4 pre-tax loss of $1.2 billion


    GLOBAL banking giant HSBC yesterday reported a shock pre-tax loss in the last quarter of 2015, with results for the year missing analysts' expectations.

    HSBC last year announced a radical overhaul of its business to cut costs that included shedding 50,000 jobs worldwide.

    Like many global banks, it is combating turmoil in global financial markets that has seen stocks and commodities plunge, while stricter regulations have driven up costs.

    Net profit for 2015 dropped 1.2 per cent to US$13.52 billion (S$18.96 billion) from the previous year, HSBC said.

    Group chairman Douglas Flint described the performance as "broadly satisfactory" in a statement. But shares slumped after the news, falling 1.8 per cent in Hong Kong.

    Analysts were troubled by news that the bank swung to a US$858 million pre-tax loss in the last quarter.

    Said financial analyst Jackson Wong of Simsen Securities: "I think it has to do with oil and commodity-related losses."

    CEO Stuart Gulliver said in a statement on Monday that cost-reduction measures were "already having an impact".

    But he admitted plans to sell HSBC's Turkey business announced as part of the cuts had been put on hold after the bank failed to find any buyers.

    Mr Flint said China's slower economic growth would create a "bumpier financial environment" this year.

    HSBC earlier this month decided to keep its headquarters in London after a 10-month review. However, he told the BBC last week that it could shift 1,000 jobs to Paris if Britain votes to leave the European Union in June.