Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver has sold or closed 60 businesses,
axed 40,000 jobs and taken a knife to costs since taking over three
years ago, and last year's operating costs are expected to tumble $5
billion from 2012 and lift profits.
Analysts expect Gulliver to keep a tight rein on costs and said his
bigger challenge is to increase revenue at Europe's biggest bank by
Economic growth in Asia has slowed and HSBC has lost income after
offloading its U.S. credit cards business and half of its U.S.
branch network, and selling its stake in Chinese insurer Ping An,
and Gulliver needs to show how to replace that.
He said in November economic growth in Hong Kong and Britain should
underpin its two core markets this year and he was confident China
and the rest of Asia-Pacific will grow.
Analysts said any improvement in revenue prospects would go down
well with prospective investors, especially many institutions in
Britain who will soon get a flood of cash from the $84 billion sale
of mobile phone firm Vodafone's <VOD.L> stake in Verizon Wireless.
"Some evidence of revenue momentum and capital accretion may be met
with a surprisingly robust increase in investor interest,
particularly given the imminent receipt of substantial volumes of
cash by Vodafone shareholders," said Deutsche Bank analyst Jason
HSBC's revenues last year are expected to be down about $2 billion
from 2012 to $66.4 billion, reflecting the lost income from disposed
businesses, weakness in some emerging market currencies, and lower
investment banking revenue. Revenues are currently forecast to grow
by less than 1 percent this year.
HSBC, which has long been one of the world's best capitalized banks,
has also come under pressure to show it can build capital to meet
tougher global rules and UK regulatory demands, which analysts said
had seen it take a cautious approach to dividends to preserve cash.
[to top of second column]
HSBC's 2013 pretax profit is expected to come in at $24.3 billion,
according to the average of 27 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters,
which would be up 18 percent from 2012 and mean a $5.7 billion
profit in the fourth quarter.
Its investment bank's income is expected to dip in the fourth
quarter due to weakness in fixed-income revenues, after its rivals
reported a 12 percent drop in fixed-income revenues during the
period on average. HSBC may have gained some market share due to its
strength in foreign exchange, analysts said.
Its operating costs are expected to fall to $37.9 billion in 2013
from $42.9 billion, largely thanks to the cost cuts, lower losses
from bad loans, lower litigation and mis-selling charges and reduced
restructuring costs compared with 2012.
Gulliver had cut annualized costs by $4.5 billion by the end of
September, although much of that has been absorbed by higher
HSBC, like many of its rivals, continues to face more costs to tidy
up past mis-selling. It is also one of several banks that has said
it is cooperating with authorities investigating foreign exchange
trading and has set aside more money for other potential
(Editing by Pravin Char)
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