HSBC's 2020 annual profit falls 34%, lowers profitability target

FILE PHOTO: HSBC logo is seen on a branch bank in the financial district in New York, U.S., August 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

HONG KONG/LONDON (Reuters) – HSBC Holdings PLC on Tuesday reported a 34% drop in annual profit, slightly better than expectations, after a year in which its global business took a hefty blow from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Europe’s biggest bank by assets, which makes the bulk of its revenue in Asia, reported profit before tax of $8.78 billion for 2020, down from $13.35 billion a year earlier.

The profit was higher than the $8.33 billion average of analysts’ estimates compiled by the bank.

Underscoring the tough market conditions, HSBC abandoned its long-term profitability goal of achieving a return on tangible equity of 10 to 12%, and said instead it will target 10% over the medium term.

HSBC said it would pay a dividend of $0.15 a share in cash, the first payout announced since October 2019, after the Bank of England blocked all big lenders from paying dividends or buying back shares in 2020 to conserve capital.

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