Europe’s biggest lender HBSC Holdings (LON:HSBA) is looking to offload its French retail banking business, the Wall Street Journal has reported. The news comes after the Asia-focused bank recently surprised the market by announcing that its chief executive officer was stepping down after just 18 months on the job.
HSBC’ share price surged in the previous session, gaining 1.94 percent to end trading at 625.50p. The stock outperformed the broader market rally, with the benchmark FTSE 100 adding 0.96 percent to close at 7,338.03 points. The group’s shares have given up more than three percent of their value over the past year, as compared with about a 0.9-percent rise in the Footsie.
HSBC plans French retail bank sale
Sources with knowledge of the matter told the WSJ that HSBC is preparing to put its French retail bank up for sale in one of its first strategic actions under its interim chief executive Noel Quinn.
While the likeliest buyer for the unit would reportedly be a French bank looking to add market share, the potential price for the business was not clear. A spokeswoman for HSBC in Paris meanwhile declined to comment, when asked by Reuters for the FTSE 100 group’s response to the WSJ report.
Changes at Asia-focused lender
The sources further told the WSJ that the potential sale of the money-losing division is part of a longer-term effort to shed businesses where the Asia-focused lender lacks scale or strategic need. The report comes after Europe’s biggest bank recently announced the departure of its CEO John Flint.
Earlier this month, it emerged that HSBC is planning to lend an extra £35 billion to homeowners as it looks to continue its push into British mortgages.
This morning, HSBC’s share price has slipped marginally lower in early trade, underperforming the broader London market.