Double Profits

LONDON, February 28, 2011 (AFP) – Banking giant HSBC said on Monday that its net profit more than doubled to $13.16 billion (9.56 billion euros) last year as bad debts plunged to the lowest level since 2006. HSBC said in a results statement that pre-tax profits soared by nearly 170 percent to $19 billion in 2010, while loan impairments and other credit risk provisions nosedived 47 percent to $14.04 billion.

Market expectations had been for net earnings of $14.02 billion, according to Dow Jones Newswires. Group revenues meanwhile increased by 3.1 percent to $68.3 billion last year.

“Underlying financial performance continued to improve in 2010,” HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver said in the results statement.

“All regions and customer groups were profitable, as Personal Financial Services and North America returned to profit,” he said. “Commercial Banking made an increased contribution to underlying earnings and Global Banking and Markets also remained strongly profitable, albeit behind 2009’s record performance, reflecting a well-balanced and diversified business.”