(Bloomberg) – HSBC Holdings Plc beat profit estimates for the third quarter, delivering an upside surprise as it pared back expected credit losses and signaled it may resume limited dividend payments already for this year.
Adjusted pretax profit slid 21% to $4.3 billion in the period, beating the $2.8 billion estimate, the London-based bank said in a statement on Tuesday. HSBC said it expects credit losses to be at the lower end of a previously announced $8 billion to $13 billion range.
“These were promising results against a backdrop of the continuing impacts of Covid-19 on the global economy,” Chief Executive Officer Noel Quinn said in a statement. “I’m pleased with the significantly lower credit losses in the quarter, and we are moving at pace to adapt our business model to a protracted low interest rate environment.”
Europe’s biggest bank faces challenges on several fronts, including swelling loan losses from the pandemic, falling interest rates and political tension in Hong Kong, its largest market. The bank is in the midst of a full-scale reorganization, cutting 35,000 jobs and pivoting its business away from Europe and the U.S. to China to boost its profitability.
The bank’s shares hit a 25-year-low in Hong Kong last month, in part amid concerns over its expansion in China and after scrapping its dividend earlier this year at the behest of U.K. regulators.
HSBC now said that it’s considering whether to pay a “conservative dividend” for 2020 if circumstances allow.
The lender said it expects to cut costs deeper than previously, aiming to reduce the annual cost base beyond a $31 billion target for 2022. It also expects to exceed a target to reduce risk-weighted assets by $100 billion.
The bank’s earnings in Asia proved particularly resilient as the region largely escaped the worst ravages of coronavirus. China last week reported a strong rebound in growth, putting its economy on course to expand this year even as the economies of most other major countries shrink.