HSBC in talks to sell South Korean and Pakistan operations

HSBC yesterday said that it is in talks to sell more of its Asian business interests, as it continues to sell its non-core assets as part of its restructuring plans to cut costs.

The announcement comes after the London-based bank last month agreed to sell its general insurance businesses in Hong Kong, Singapore, Argentina and Mexico to French insurer AXA and Australia's QBE Insurance Group for $914 million in cash, and said that it was in talks sell its Mauritius retail banking and wealth management division.

HSBC,  Europe's largest lender, is now holding talks with several investors over the potential sale of its South Korean and Pakistani assets as chief executive Stuart Gulliver looks to shore up the bank's balance sheet.

HSBC has 11 retail banking and wealth management branches in South Korea, which handle assets worth around £16.5 billion ($26.2 billion), and HSBC's 10 branches in Pakistan that handle assets worth around £350 million ($556 million).

Late last night, state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) said that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with HSBC to buy the British bank's retail operations in Korea.

KDB did not give a valuation of the purchase, but said that it has agreed to take over HSBC's 11 Korean branches, including their assets and debt.