LONDON - HSBC Holdings, Europe’s biggest bank, may use part of the 12.5 billion pounds ($17.7 billion) it’s raising in a rights offering to fund acquisitions in Asia and other emerging markets.
Europe’s biggest bank by market value will pursue "opportunities" for growth, including takeovers, Chairman Stephen Green told journalists at a press conference in London on Monday. "They are more likely to be bolt-on or incremental acquisitions" in emerging markets, he said.
HSBC may be interested in Royal Bank of Scotland Group’s assets in Asia. RBS, which last week posted the biggest loss by a U.K. company, plans to abandon or sell retail and commercial banking operations in 13 Asian countries, including the Philippines and Vietnam.
"Asia seems to be HSBC’s natural hunting ground for acquisitions," said Mamoun Tazi, an analyst at MF Global Securities. "If they find something of interest in Asia that’s at the right price, they may consider buying."
"Organically, we can grow as our competitors withdraw, we can put our capacity to work so that means you don’t have to be quick to buy something to do that," Sandy Flockhart, HSBC’s chief executive officer for Asia-Pacific, said yesterday. The firm is open to making purchases in markets such as China and South Korea, he said.