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HSBC in Talks to Sell Operations in Pakistan, South Korea

April 10 (Bloomberg) -- HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s largest bank, said it’s in talks to sell operations in Pakistan and South Korea, part of the lender’s plans to exit businesses that aren’t large or profitable enough.

The company is in talks with “a number of interested parties” about a sale of HSBC Bank Middle East Ltd.’s operations in Pakistan, the bank said in a statement today. HSBC has 10 branches in the country servicing about 33,000 consumers and companies, Brendan McNamara, a HSBC spokesman, said by telephone. He declined to comment on potential buyers.

Separately, KDB Financial Group Inc., South Korea’s largest state-owned banking group, said yesterday it was in talks to buy HSBC’s consumer division in the country to boost its domestic banking unit’s deposit base. KDB said it will acquire HSBC’s 11 Korean branches, without giving a valuation of the purchase.

“These discussions are ongoing,” HSBC said in a statement today. “HSBC remains committed to the Korean market and continues to invest in developing its Korean global banking and markets and corporate banking businesses.”

HSBC, which plans to cut 30,000 jobs by the end of next year, is selling assets as the euro-area debt crisis saps profit and regulators demand bigger capital buffers. Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver has announced about $6 billion of asset sales since May as the bank sheds jobs and redeploys capital in faster-growing markets. The bank last month said it would shut its consumer banking unit in Japan and on March 7 agreed to sell parts of its general insurance units in Asia and Latin America.

To contact the reporter on this story: Howard Mustoe in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at

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