HSBC net profits drop by 17 percent

HSBC bank says net profits dropped 17 percent in 2012 but remain high at $13.5 billion

Associated Press

LONDON (AP) -- The HSBC banking group said Monday its full-year net profits dropped by 17 percent in 2012 but remained high at $13.5 billion as its Asian business continued to perform well.

The figures reflect HSBC's nearly $2 billion in fines paid to settle a money-laundering case brought by U.S. officials that dealt with drug money from Mexico. The net profit was also hurt by an accounting loss on the value of the bank's own debt.

The bank says its "underlying profit" before tax — a measure that does not count one-time charges — totaled $16.4 billion, an 18 percent increase over 2011, when it had booked heavier on-time charges on bad loans.

Group Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said the bank has made important progress and is performing well. The bank increased its dividend payout by 10 percent for the full year compared with 2011.

The global banking group earns roughly 90 percent of its revenue outside of Britain and has done well in growing Asian markets.

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