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Flat profit for Hang Seng

Flat profit for Hang Seng

(Hong Kong) - HSBC unit Hang Seng Bank has reported a 1.5 percent fall in 2002 profit as a result of lower interest income and higher bad debt charges. Hang Seng, which is 61 percent owned by HSBC, announced a 2002 net profit of HK$9.96 billion, down from HK$10.11 billion in 2001.

Although the bank faced the same difficult business environment marked by the city's weak economy and high rate of bankruptcy, its result was significantly better than other local banks that have reported earnings recently.

Bank of East Asia reported a 19.5 percent on-year fall in net profit. Wing Lung bank posted an 11.2 percent drop and International Bank of Asia a 23.7 percent fall.

Still, Hang Seng's bad loan charges rose in line with the industry. Provision charges for bad and doubtful debt increased on the year by 35 percent to HK$571 million, almost all of it related to credit card debt.

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