HSBC’s global profits have risen to £13.8 billion, a 15 per cent annual rise and one of the healthiest profits ever reported by a British company.
A robust performance in the UK and rapid expansion throughout Asia has helped HSBC to what it called a year of ‘major progress’.
The bank is the most profitable in the western world and makes roughly 90 per cent of its profits outside the United Kingdom, with significant exposure to the emerging markets in Asia. Revenue was also up by 12 per cent in Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East.
HSBC singled out its “strong performance” in these faster growing regions, revealing they now account for 49 per cent of its overall revenue.
UK pre-tax profits have risen by 17.2 per cent over the last year, reaching £1.5 billion. HSBC lent £49.4 billion to businesses, more than £10 billion above its target of £38.8 billion. £11.9 billion of this went to SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).
HSBC also increased mortgage lending by 12 per cent to £13.2 billion. It expects to increase that figure to £15 billion over the next year, with £3 billion earmarked for first-time buyers.
Stuart Gulliver , HSBC’s chief executive, is to be awarded a total pay package of £7.1 million for 2010, made up of his £1.2 million salary, a £2.2 million bonus and long-term incentives worth £3.75 million. He will also receive shares which cannot be sold until he retires or leaves HSBC.
He said: "We recorded a strong performance in faster-growing markets and had a record year in commercial banking.
"I am pleased with our progress but there is a lot more to do and we remain focused on delivering our targets."
The news of HSBC’s success comes after Barclays reported a significant fall in profits and the state-backed Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland reported heavy losses.