HONG KONG, Mar 5 (AFP): Global banking giant HSBC Holdings is expected to deliver Monday an 8.3 per cent profit increase in 2005, helped by continued strong growth in emerging markets, analysts said.
HSBC is expected to report pretax profit before goodwill of 20.5 billion US dollars for 2005 under international accounting standards, up from a restated 18.943 billion dollars a year earlier.
Individual forecasts range from 20 to 21.3 billion dollars.
The bank is expected to report rising revenues in emerging markets such as Argentina, Indonesia and the Middle East. It is also likely to point to a stronger performance in Hong Kong, its largest single market, helped by an upturn in consumer spending.
Investors will be looking for confirmation that a programme of heavy investment in HSBC's investment banking division is tapering off.
At its interim results in August, HSBC said that with the investment programme now largely complete, expenditure on the division would fall "significantly".
Some analysts believe the investment banking unit will deliver a strong rise in second-half profit, reversing a decline during the first six months of the year, thanks to a recent upturn in advisory work.
The market will also be focusing on bad debts at HSBC's British operation. The bank, one of the first to warn that more British consumers were having difficulty repaying their debts, said in a December trading statement that arrears levels were improving thanks to a tighter lending criteria.
HSBC, which generates more than two-thirds of its profit in Asia and the US, is better insulated against the deteriorating British credit environment than its British peers.
It will chairman John Bond's final results announcement as he is due to retire in May following 45 years' service for HSBC, which ranks as Europe's largest bank and is among the three biggest in the world.
Bond will be replaced by HSBC's chief executive Stephen Green, who in turn will be succeeded by Michael Geoghegan-chief executive of HSBC Bank, the group's principal subsidiary in Britain.
HSBC has around 110 million customers worldwide and employs about 260,000 staff in 77 countries and territories.