HSBC sells Panama unit to Bancolombia

HSBC Holdings has agreed to sell its Panama unit to Bancolombia for 2.1bn dollars - three times the net asset value, the bank said in a statement Tuesday.

HSBC Holdings has agreed to sell its Panama unit to Bancolombia for 2.1bn dollars - three times the net asset value, the bank said in a statement Tuesday.

The transaction of HSBC Bank Panama will be subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2013.

Unaudited estimates show the unit had $7.6bn of assets, $5.7bn of loans and $5.8bn of deposits, excluding previously announced disposals and other adjustments.

HSBC acquired most of its Panamanian operations when it bought Grupo Banistmo for $1.77bn in 2006.

The sale of the unit comes as Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver tries to boost profits by targeting fewer markets.

Gulliver, who was appointed the head of the bank in 2011, is working to invest in economies with greater market share including Brazil, Mexico and Argentina in Latin America. Slashing costs and selling assets are also part of his plan.

This month the company sold its stake in Shenzhen, China-based Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. for about $9.4bn.

Since 2011, HSBC has announced the sale or closure of 46 assets including operations in Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras.

RD

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