HSBC "in no hurry" to sell off assets

7 March 2007

HSBC will not be rushed into selling off its US assets despite disappointing annual profits and bad debts in the region, according to chief executive, Michael Geoghegan.

Mr Geoghegan's assertion that he was in "no hurry to sell anything" came in the wake of reports showing that second-half pre-tax profit in the US for the world's largest bank fell by 87 per cent.

Market analysts have blamed the bank's sub-par performance on $10.6 billion of debts incurred in the subprime mortgage market and loans, leading to speculation that it may seek to offload its interests in mortgages.

However, Mr Geoghegan said that if the bank was to sell now it would not receive sums that reflected the true market value of the businesses.

Nonetheless, he did concede that merging some of the bank's home loans into mortgage-backed securities is a possibility.

"It's an ongoing thing in the industry that you securitize the mortgages.Up until now we haven't," he said.

HSBC recently announced a five per cent rise in global pre-tax profits for 2006.

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