UK banking giant HSBC (NYSE: HBC) saw H1 pretax profits in Latin America rise 23% year-on-year to US$1.15bn, thanks to double-digit revenue growth driven by its Brazilian unit, group CEO Stuart Gulliver told a conference call.
The region accounted for 10% of HSBC's global pretax profits in 1H11, according to the bank's interim results report released Monday.
"We continue to restructure our regional head office to improve cost efficiency. Where we saw cost growth, this was reflected by wage increases in an inflationary environment and also additional frontline staff recruitment, especially in Brazil," Gulliver said.
The bank's cost efficiency ratio in Latin America worsened to 65.3% in 1H11 from 63.9% in the same period in 2010.
Higher costs in 1H11 also reflected the first tranche of restructuring following the closing of 66 branches in Mexico, Gulliver said.
The bank announced that it would cut 30,000 jobs worldwide by 2013 - or 10% of its workforce - as part of a strategy to focus on emerging markets. The job cuts are part of a US$2.5bn-3.5bn cost savings plan announced earlier this year.
HSBC reported a stronger than expected US$11.5bn pretax profit in 1H11, up 3% compared to the same period last year.
To read the bank's full interim results release, go to this link