HSBC hits back at Ping An’s fresh Asia spin-off proposal

HSBC hits back at Ping An's fresh Asia spin-off proposal
FILE PHOTO: A logo of HSBC is seen on its headquarters at the financial Central district in Hong Kong, China August 4, 2020. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

LONDON: HSBC has hit back at its largest shareholder Ping An’s latest proposal to restructure the bank and separate its Asia business into a Hong Kong-listed entity, saying it would result in a material loss of value for shareholders.

Europe’s largest bank said in a statement published on Wednesday that it had had extensive meetings with Ping An, including around 20 meetings at a senior level, but there remained disagreement.

HSBC said the structural reforms suggested by Ping An would undermine the bank’s international business model and erode earnings, dividends and shareholder value.

“HSBC is a global systemically important bank. It is not in the interests of its shareholders, customers or stakeholders for HSBC’s structure to remain the subject of prolonged debate,” the statement added.

HSBC said it had evaluated Ping An’s proposals “with an open mind”, in an apparent reference to the Chinese insurer’s claims in its own statement on Tuesday that the lender had refused to listen to its ideas.

Shareholders will vote at the bank’s annual meeting on May 5 on two resolutions filed by a Hong Kong investor and supported by Ping An, calling for higher dividends and a regular update on strategic proposals such as the spin-off plan.

HSBC said investors should vote against both resolutions.

Source: Reuters