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HSBC Holdings Reports Profits Rise

July 31, 2000

HONG KONG (AP) _ First half pretax profits at HSBC Holdings PLC, which owns Hong Kong’s largest bank, rose 28 percent.

HSBC said Monday it was able to lower its bad debt provision to $369 million, down from $714 million from the same period in 1999. That helped first half profits increase to $5.21 billion from $4.07 billion.

Net assets for HSBC were $580 billion, versus $569 billion in the year-ago period.

Pretax profit for the group’s Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd. rose 47.8 percent to $2.27 billion.

Group chairman John Bond said the London-based banking giant views the remainder of 2000 with ``optimism although unexpected shocks to the financial system can never be ruled out.″

Separately, HSBC said it had sold British brokerage Charterhouse Securities to ING Barings, a unit of Dutch banking and insurance company ING Groep NV, for about $190 million.

Charterhouse, which covers equities and fixed income, has 500 institutional clients in the United States and Europe. It also has a corporate and advisory business with over 90 British clients.

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