HSBC 'in talks to sell Lebanese business'
DUBAI • HSBC Holdings, the London-based lender scaling back its global presence, has discussed plans to sell its Lebanese business with Beirut-based Blom Bank .
No binding agreement has been reached, HSBC said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.
In a separate statement, Blom Bank confirmed it has held talks with HSBC. No further details were provided by the banks.
Chief executive officer Stuart Gulliver announced a three-year strategy last year to shrink HSBC's sprawling operations and reduce annual costs by US$5 billion (S$6.8 billion), pledging to cut 25,000 employees. HSBC was present in 71 countries at the end of last year, down from 87 in 2011, according to its website.
SAB brands: Buyout funds eye alliances
LONDON/PRAGUE • United States and European buyout funds are gearing up for SABMiller's sale of its central and eastern European beer brands, with some seeking to join forces to snap up assets worth up to €7 billion (S$10.4 billion), sources said.
The brewing businesses, based in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, are for sale as part of Anheuser-Busch InBev's US$100 billion-plus takeover of SABMiller.
AB InBev, maker of Budweiser and Stella Artois, has offered to sell SAB's entire European business to ease antitrust approval for the takeover, which is among the largest in corporate history.
HK closing auction debuts successfully
HONG KONG • Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing's new stock closing auction debuted successfully yesterday, though brokers in the city are said to be pushing for changes to the system, according to two people familiar with the discussions.
The bourse reintroduced the closing auction - a staple of every other developed market - in a bid to reduce volatility and deter manipulation.
To do that, it restricted the ability to amend orders, which has some brokerages crying foul. They want to be able to change orders to complete more trades, according to the people, who asked not to be named as the talks are private.