HSBC profits hit by write-downs

HSBC has reported a 24 per cent drop in annual pre-tax profits (£4.7bn) for 2009 after a raft of write-downs.

However, when one-off factors such as the write-downs are taken out of the equation, its underlying profits rose by 56 per cent to £8.8bn.

HSBC has not received direct government support unlike Lloyds and RBS.

Meanwhile the bank's chief executive, Michael Geoghegan, has confirmed he will give up to £4m of his bonus to charity.

Chairman Stephen Green said in a statement that his bank had weathered the global financial crisis relatively well.

He said: “Throughout the crisis, HSBC has remained profitable, financially strong and independently owned by our shareholders.

“It is testimony to the quality and strength of HSBC’s management team that, in 2009, our underlying performance was significantly ahead of 2008."