28/02/2005

HSBC reports massive profits hike

Global bank HSBC has reported a massive increase in pre-tax profit of $17.6 billion (around £9.2 billion) in 2004 - a 37% rise that is the biggest recorded by any UK-based bank.

The company's sales also rose by 23% to $50.59 billion (around £26.29 billion) aided by HSBC's acquisition of US loan firm Household International, which the bank described as one of the most important and successful acquisitions in their recent history. A gradual economic recovery in the US, which had contributed to improved employment levels and low interest rates and inflation as well as "remarkable economic progress" in China had all helped boost profits, HSBC reported.

HSBC Chairman Sir John Bond said that 2004 had been “another good year” for the bank. He also said that the economic environment had remained "broadly favourable" in 2004.

However, Amicus, Britain's biggest private sector union, have announced plans to call on 20,000 HSBC staff to strike over pay.

The union has criticised the bank's plan to introduce a new bonus scheme, which Amicus claims would be "detrimental" to the majority of staff.

National Officer, Rob O'Neill, said: “How can a bank which is making so much money squeeze the pay of exactly the same staff who have contributed to the success of the business and expect them to take it lying down. These massive profits will mean yet another bonanza for shareholders and the boardroom but no such luck for staff. “Amicus is prepared to ballot its members for industrial action unless HSBC gives their UK staff an equitable share of the profits in the same way they do for shareholders and boardroom members."

(KMcA/SP)

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