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01 August 2017, 10:51 | Maryann Sutton
HONG KONG HSBC said profits were up Monday in the first half of the year in what it called an “excellent” result after a turbulent 2016
With its profit growing 5% during the first six months of 2017 and a third buyback of shares in the past year, HSBC is progressing in its turnaround plan.
In the second quarter alone, HSBC saw its profit climb to US$5.3 billion from $3.6 billion a year earlier, beating the $4.6 billion average estimate of five analysts compiled by Bloomberg.
The bank said that its common equity tier 1 ratio - a measure of financial strength and stability - had hit 14.7 per cent at the end of June, up from 14.3 per cent three months earlier and 12.1 per cent a year ago.
The new buybacks, to be completed by December, will add to the $3.5 billion of repurchases since previous year that have helped push the lender's stock up more than 50 percent in the past 12 months.
As part of changes to the bank΄s management structure confirmed in March, Flint will be replaced by Insurance group AIA Chief Executive Mark Tucker in October, while Gulliver will step down in 2018.
Mr Gulliver and Mr Flint are both retiring, leaving a legacy of improving revenue and returning more capital to shareholders, having focused on trimming the bank's empire and shifting its focus eastwards.
HSBC also announced an up to $2 billion share buyback, as it uses excess capital to offset the dilutive effect of shares paid out as dividends.
HSBC is the largest bank in Europe and presents an opportunity for investors to diversify away from banks that are more heavily weighted in North American markets.
"You could argue there is a more focused, logical, cohesive set of businesses that remain and there is absolutely growth" on show at HSBC now, Gulliver said on a call with analysts.
HSBC is carrying out a sweeping overhaul to increase profitability.
It has included selling assets, cutting costs and pivoting the bank more towards Asia.
That ratio will increase more as the bank starts repatriating $8 billion that is at its subsidiary in the US, following last year's approval by the United States Federal Reserve and possibly allowing for more buybacks.
When completed, this latest buy back will take the total value of share buy backs to US$5.5 billion since the middle of a year ago. In January, Gulliver said: "We will move in about two years time when Brexit becomes effective".
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