Profits up at HSBC, bank says

13 May 2008

HSBC released its first quarter profits statement yesterday - and confirmed that it had written off another $5 billion of assets.

Europe's biggest bank does not release quarterly declarations of profits - but confirmed that earnings at the firm exceeded those of the first three months of 2007.

HSBC also said that bad debts relating to its US consumer finance division - the area of the bank most directly exposed to America's poorly-performing property market amounted to around $3.2 billion.

This beats many analysts' forecasts - and puts the bank in a stronger-than-expected position.

Reflecting the good news, HSBC shares gained two per cent on the FTSE 100 on the news.

Speaking to reporters on a conference call, chief executive Michael Geoghegan said that the bank's balance sheet and capital ratios remain healthy.

"That allows us to weather circumstances that might rock others and to invest in future growth," he said.

HSBC is to release its half-year results on August 4th.

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