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Earnings In H2 Fall 46% On Higher Bad Debts

HANG Seng Bank Ltd, majority-owned by HSBC Holdings Plc, posted a 46-percent drop in second-half profit as bad debts swelled and appointed Margaret Leung as its first female chief executive officer.

Net income dropped to HK$5.04 billion (US$650 million) in the six months ended December 31 from HK$9.38 billion a year earlier, based on full-year figures reported by the company yesterday.

Leung, who is currently HSBC's global co-head of commercial banking, will take over in May from Hang Seng CEO Raymond Or, who is retiring, the bank said.

Hang Seng, the largest Hong Kong-based bank by market value, and rivals are reporting falling earnings as the city's first recession since the 2003 SARS epidemic reduced demand for wealth management products and raised credit costs, Bloomberg News said. Loan impairment charges and credit risk provisions rose almost five-fold to HK$2.78 billion.


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