LONDON: HSBC India saw a headline rise of 84% in pre-tax profits for 2010, up to $679 million, from $379 million for 2009, even as the global bank dragged down the FTSE despite announcing higher dividends, as new chief Stuart Gulliver reduced return on equity targets for the year.
HSBC announced that its pre-tax profits were up by 36% globally, and that it was profitable in every consumer group as personal financial services in North America, returned to profit for the first time since 2006.
Again in a first, the rest of its Asia-Pacific operations, which includes India, moved ahead of Hong Kong for the first time with pre-tax profits of $5.7 billion. Mainland China, however, remains the biggest contributor, with pre-tax profits of $2565 million.
In India, HSBC pared its losses in the personal financial services from $219 million in 2009 to a loss of $82 million, a legacy of over enthusiasm in the credit card business in the past. The biggest growth in India came from the global banking and markets operations, which had profits of $507 million, up from $393 million in 2009.
In terms of growth, the nascent private banking business jumped to a $4 million, from a base of $1 million last year, indicating the growth potential of the private banking sector. Its commercial banking business in India improved to show a profit $71 million, compared with losses of $41 million last year.
In his review, new group chief executive Stuart Gulliver who replaces Michael Geoghegan, reaffirmed the bank's decision for him to be based in Hong Kong, though he clarified the global bank has no plans to shift its headquarters from London. "Asia contributed the largest proportion to pre-tax profits," he said. Mr Gulliver is part of a new management team heading HSBC, with chairman Douglas Flint re-placing Stephen Green, and Iain Mckay as the chief financial officer.