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HSBC Korea head: No plans for a second KEB bid

Oct 08,2009
Matthew Deakin
HSBC Holdings Plc has no plan to acquire a local firm for now, the head of its Korean unit said yesterday.

The London-based bank gave up a $6.3 billion deal to purchase a controlling stake in Korea Exchange Bank in September 2008, amid the global financial crisis and continued legal disputes surrounding the 2003 purchase of the bank by Lone Star Funds.

The Seoul Central District Court in November called the purchase legal, and as the financial markets are now stabilizing, John Grayken, chairman of Lone Star, said recently that the U.S. fund expects to sell its 51.02 percent stake in KEB in six to 12 months.

But asked whether HSBC intends to bid again for KEB, Matthew Deakin, head of HSBC Korea, told reporters yesterday, “We have no plans for any acquisition in Korea at the moment.”

He was attending a press conference held in Seoul to introduce the bank’s new Emerging Markets Index, which measures the economic and business health of the world’s emerging markets, including Korea.

Deakin also said HSBC has no interest in buying local brokerage Prudential Investment & Securities Co., which U.S. insurance giant Prudential Financial is considering selling.

The HSBC EMI, based on a survey of data from over 5,000 purchasing managers from companies in 13 countries, shows that emerging market output in the third quarter recorded a robust rise, the bank said. The 13 countries include Brazil, China, India, Russia and Mexico as well as Korea.

The index rose to 55.3 in the third quarter from 50.7 in second quarter, the bank said. Any reading below 50 indicates a contraction of output during the quarter while a figure above 50 signals expansion.

Stephen King, HSBC’s chief economist, said in a statement, “[The United States’] relative importance is declining. We now expect emerging nations to see economic growth of 6 percent next year, while the developed world will expand by only 1.8 percent.”


By Moon So-young [symoon@joongang.co.kr]



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