HSBC Said to Be Selling Lebanese Unit as Gulliver Cuts Costs

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  • Bank has 3 branches, corporate banking business in the country
  • HSBC was present in 71 countries in 2015, down from 87 in 2011

HSBC Holdings Plc is planning to sell its operations in Lebanon and has received interest from local banks, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The London-based lender held talks with parties including Blom Bank SAL over the unit, which counts three retail branches, a corporate banking business and employs about 200 people, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. Blom Bank and HSBC declined to comment.

Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver in June outlined a three-year plan to pare back HSBC’s global network by shutting money-losing businesses and eliminating as many as 25,000 jobs. HSBC was present in 71 countries at the end of 2015, down from 87 in 2011, according to its website.

In the Middle East, it operates in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Algeria. In Saudi Arabia, the bank holds a 40 percent stake in Saudi British Bank and a 49 percent share in HSBC Saudi Arabia. A planned sale of its unprofitable Turkish unit was scrapped earlier this year after the bank struggled to find a buyer, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg in February.

HSBC will start building a new Middle East headquarters in Dubai, where it has been operating since 1946, near the world’s tallest tower as it combines staff from three locations in the city. The shares fell 0.6 percent in London yesterday to 466.6 pence, bringing the decline to about 13 percent this year.

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