HSBC says first-quarter profits jump to $8.4 billion as bad debts drop


HSBC said its first quarter profits almost doubled from a year ago to more than $8 billion as bad debts and costs fell, with Europe's biggest bank showing the benefit of a 3-year restructuring plan.

HSBC <0005.HK> reported a pretax profit of $8.4 billion on Tuesday, up from $4.3 billion a year ago and above the average forecast of $8.1 billion from analysts polled by the company.

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Losses from bad debts plunged 51 percent to $1.2 billion and costs fell 10 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, benefiting from Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver's drive to streamline operations, reduce complexity and axe businesses that are unprofitable or lack scale. He has shed 52 businesses since taking over in early 2011.

(Reporting by Steve Slater; Editing by Matt Scuffham)