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HSBC to sell 3 major buildings to raise cash

EUROPE'S largest bank, HSBC Holdings, confirmed yesterday it was considering selling three of its major office buildings and said it had received interest from potential buyers.

HSBC, which recently raised nearly US$19 billion in a rights issue, said it may sell and lease-back office buildings in New York, Paris and London, including its headquarters at Canary Wharf.

London's Sunday Telegraph reported that HSBC was considering selling three of its biggest office buildings to raise 2.7 billion pounds (US$3.98 billion).

"We are taking a look at the market, yes," spokesman David Hall said in Hong Kong. "There are people interested in buying at an appropriate price," Hall said. He declined to give further details.

HSBC bought back its building at Canary Wharf in London for 838 million pounds from ailing Spanish property firm Metrovacesa at the end of last year after the Spanish firm failed to refinance a loan secured on the building.

Globally, banks battered by the financial crisis have been looking to sell non-core assets in order to raise capital and improve their balance sheets.

The bank said last month that it was ready for acquisitions in its traditional stronghold of Asia.


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