HSBC shareholders back £12.5billion rights issue

20 March 2009 / by Rebecca Sargent
Shareholders in HSBC have given the green light to the £12.5billion rights issue proposed earlier this month.

The rights issue received 99 per cent backing from HSBC Bank shareholders for the first two motions required, but this fell to 92 per cent when it came to the removal of pre-emption rights which mean that existing shareholders should be offered new shares before outsiders.

Nevertheless, the rights issue will go ahead, strengthening HSBC's capital ratios and core equity level.

The rights issue eclipses the £12billion raised through Royal Bank of Scotland's (RBS) shareholders last year, but HSBC has, as yet managed to avoid Government intervention, unlike RBS, HBOS and now Lloyds.

At the announcement of the rights issue earlier this month, HSBC said it, "enhances HSBC's ability to deal with the impact of an uncertain economic environment and to respond to unforeseen events and gives HSBC options in relation to opportunities for those with superior financial strength."

Speaking at the time Stephen Green, group chairman of HSBC said: "We remain confident that HSBC is well-placed in today's environment and that our strength leads to opportunity. Our strategy has served us well and positions HSBC for long-term growth with attractive returns.

"We continue to combine our position as the world's leading emerging markets bank with an extensive international network across both developed and faster growing markets.

Planned internal capital generation remains strong and this capital raising will enhance our ability to deal with the impact of an uncertain economic environment and to respond to unforeseen events."

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