So much so, that it's selling its headquarters and just about every piece of real-estate it owns.
First to go was its New York headquarters on Fifth Avenue, sold last month to an Israeli. Now, HSBC is parting ways (again) with its London headquarters in Canary Wharf, agreeing to sell to South Korea's National Pension Service.
The bank is still shopping its Hong Kong and Paris buildings.
Of course, real-estate speculation has been good business for HSBC in recent years. The bank had to good fortune (yea, good fortune) to sell its Docklands headquarters in June 2007 to a Spanish developer, Metrovacesa. As you may have heard, that was not a particularly good time to need access to the credit markets, and Metrovacesa couldn't. So HSBC got the building back, earning itself a tidy £250 million in the process.
Today's deal is not quite as good for HSBC. The bank is getting £772.5 million for the building, which it will continue to occupy. It paid £838 million for it in December. But HSBC will book another £350 million this year on the sale, helping to salve that US$3.5 billion hit it took on its own debt in the third quarter.
Korea Pension Fund to Buy HSBC Headquarters for $1.29 Billion [Bloomberg]