The oil-rich region, however, was the second biggest contributor to bank’s over all pre-tax profit
Mena region is second-worst performing region for HSBC in pre-tax Q2 profit
The Middle East and North Africa region was the second-worst performer in year-on-year growth in the second-quarter and first-half pre-tax income for global banking giant HSBC, which on Monday reported a 4.6 per cent rise in its first-half profit before taxes.
HSBC said overall profit rose to $10.7 billion (Dh51.05bn) in the first six months of the year, voicing "cautious optimism" about growth despite the China-US trade row. In terms of geographical spread, Asia accounted for the largest chunk of the profit for the bank, which is coming out of a wide-ranging restructure announced in 2015.
The second-quarter adjusted profit before tax from Asian operations climbed by 20 per cent year-on-year to $4.61bn, while it rose by 58 per cent to $666 million in North America, according to the investor presentation released on Monday. The adjusted pre-tax profit for the three months to the end of June from Europe slumped 82 per cent year-on-year to $241m, while it fell by 6 per cent to $397m in the Mena region, HSBC said.
The performance for the first half also followed a similar trend with European pre-tax profit down 78 per cent to $464m, while in Mena, it grew only by 2 per cent to $834m, the slowest pace among the global regions the bank operates in.
The oil-rich Mena region, however, was the second biggest contributor to bank’s over all pre-tax profit. Asia accounted for 87.6 per cent of the total pre-tax profit, while Mena followed with 7.8 per cent.
After slashing 50,000 jobs under the restructure, HSBC said, it has become a strong business with a number of clear commercial advantages. And the bank now aims to build on strengths to grow profits consistently.
“We are a leading international bank with a network that gives us unparalleled access to high-growth markets, particularly in Asia and the Middle East,” the lender said in a statement on Monday. “With a period of significant restructuring now behind us, and with monetary policy in the US-dollar bloc normalising, it is now time to realise the potential of the group.”
The bank now plans to hire "more frontline staff" in its strongest businesses as it seeks new growth, according to Agence France-Presse.
"We are investing to win new customers, increase our market share, and lay the foundations for consistent growth in profits and returns," HSB chief executive John Flint said.
The London bank said its second-quarter adjusted revenue advanced 2 per cent from a year earlier to $13.7bn, below the average estimate among three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Costs, meanwhile, increased 7 per cent as Mr Flint stepped up investments in areas including technology.
Mr Flint, promoted to chief executive in February, plans to grow the global bank by expanding in key Asian markets including China and establishing the lender as a top-tier wealth manager. His plan earlier this year to invest $17bn to build its presence in the region and improving technology was met with a lukewarm reception, amid concern about how long-cost growth would outpace revenue and hold back the dividend.
Like UK rival Standard Chartered, HSBC has struggled to consistently deliver revenue gains that outpace cost increases - what analysts refer to as positive jaws. Still, Mr Flint stuck to his projection that the bank will be able to bolster revenue faster than costs for the full year, according to a Bloomberg report.
Finance director, Iain Mackay, said costs are “absolutely in line” with where the company expected to be, adding that HSBC is being deliberate about investing in areas where it expects growth, he told Bloomberg Television.