INVESTMENT BANKING | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

HSBC continues retail banking restructuring

The banking giant sells off four units in just two days.

HSBC Holdings plc will sell its retail banking and wealth management business in Thailand to Bank of Ayudhya Plc for some US$112 million to slash costs and retreat from retail banking in markets where it doesn't have scale.

The sale comes just a day after HSBC said it was selling its businesses in Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras to Colombian banking group Banco Davivienda SA.

The Thailand business comprises credit card balances, loans and mortgage portfolios. Total gross assets are valued at around US$553 million.

HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver outlined the bank's strategy to investors in May 2011 and has since continued to pare its portfolio of retail-banking assets worldwide.

A spokesman for HSBC declined to comment on earlier reports that it is seeking buyers for its Japanese consumer banking unit only four years after starting the business.

There are also rumors HSBC is looking for buyers of HSBC Premier, its Japanese division targeting wealthy individuals in Japan.

HSBC is trimming its operations in Japan, South Korea, Thailand and other Asian countries to cuts assets to prepare for tighter capital rules.

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