Europe’s biggest bank, HSBC Holdings, hopes to list its shares in Shanghai next year, becoming one of the first overseas companies to do so, its chief executive said.
“I don’t see it being a 2009 event, hopefully in 2010. It has a very symbolic element for HSBC. We were established in 1865 in Hong Kong and Shanghai… we would welcome participating in the Chinese market,” Michael Geoghegan told Reuters in an interview on Monday.
Asked how much he expected the listing to raise, he said: “We haven’t got to that stage yet. We are looking at the fundamentals.”
People familiar with the matter have told Reuters that HSBS could raise $3-$7 billion as part of a Shanghai listing.
The bank, which operates in 86 countries, has investments worth about $22 billion in China, including a 19 percent stake in Bank of Communications and a 16.8 percent stake in Ping An Insurance. HSBC announced last month Geoghegan would move to Hong Kong from February, as the bank focused more on Asia.
“We will see a lot of trade between China and the region so it is logical for HSBC to participate there and be a part of it. Equally China is doing a lot of business in Latin America and there is a very close link particularly between Brazil and China.”
Geoghegan said the bank was looking to grow its business in Asia, in Latin America and Africa and in the Middle East.
“In Africa, where we have also announced we will increase our presence both by organic growth and possibly by minority share holdings or acquisition, we believe that is another link to China.”
Asked about the global economy, Geoghegan said it faced further jolts as rising unemployment takes its toll, adding he believed the world would not emerge from recession until the United States did.
“There are large needs for capital in the U.S. banks to comply with Basel II and for the European banks to adjust their core equity capital. Those things will have ramifications on the world economy.”
“I think the biggest jolt has passed through but there are other jolts to come as unemployment has its consequences etc.”
“Asia has learned from the Asian crisis of the nineties and is in a much better position and has been able to adjust its economy much more quickly, it is not so dependent on foreign currency borrowing and that will shelter it from a lot of the strain which may come,” he said.
HSBC’s London shares closed up 0.2 percent at 718 pence.
Asked about the regulatory landscape and the amount of new legislation being pushed through, Geoghegan said: “G20 members should bring forward the regulation they think is appropriate for financial services and all G20 members [should] at the same time implement it the same way.”
“If that isn’t the case then you will get a disjointed financial services and that in a way is more dangerous than what we have got today.”
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