London-headquartered HSBC said the gross asset value of the business was about US$550 million (B17.3 billion) but Reuters reported that the sale price was a mere US$112 million (B3.5 billion). The deal is expected to be completed sometime in the first half of this year.
HSBC is currently conducting a massive shake of its entire business. In recent weeks it has also sold its private banking business in Japan and its operations in Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras as part of broader restructuring to “reduce costs and focus on growth”.
The Asia-focused bank last year announced massive cost-cutting measures, including plans to save up to US$3.5 billion (B109 billion) by 2013 and to axe 30,000 jobs globally.