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HSBC may sell Ping An shares

By Zhao Qian (Global Times)

09:58, November 20, 2012

HSBC Holdings plc confirmed Monday that it is in talks to sell its shares in Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, a move analysts said showed that the biggest bank in Europe planned to shuck off some of its non-core businesses.

"HSBC has from time to time received approaches regarding its shareholding and confirms that it is in discussions which may or may not lead to the sale of the shares," the bank said in a statement e-mailed to the Global Times Monday afternoon.

The statement followed speculation by Hong Kong Economic Journal on Monday morning about a possible sale of HSBC's 15.57 percent stake in Ping An.

HSBC, Ping An's largest shareholder, could cash in around HK$73.5 billion ($9.4 billion) via the sale, according to the newspaper.

Ping An, the world's second largest life insurer by market value, could not be reached by press time.

Its shares fell by 6 percent on the Shanghai Stock Exchange by midday on the news, and saw a 1.6 percent drop at the close Monday. Its shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange declined by 2.8 percent, while HSBC's climbed 0.95 percent.

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