(Bloomberg) -- HSBC Holdings Plc has told investors to vote against a proposal by an activist shareholder in Hong Kong to overhaul the company’s structure and spin off its Asian business.

Ken Lui, who leads a group of 100 shareholders pushing for the changes, wants the bank to restore dividend payouts to at least 51 cents a share and reorganize its Asian businesses. The bank said on Friday it will put the proposal before shareholders at its annual general meeting in Birmingham on May 5, and that its board recommends that investors vote against it.    

HSBC Shareholder Group Pushes for Proposal to Boost Dividend

Lui’s effort adds further pressure on the London-headquartered bank, which is pushing back against another move by top shareholder Ping An Insurance Group Co. to radically revamp the lender.

The activist shareholders say that HSBC’s business in Europe and the US has “dragged down” overall performance while its Asian operations remain highly profitable, according to Friday’s statement. 

They also cite the high cost of operating as a UK-headquartered company and escalating tensions between China and the West as further justifications for spinning off the Asian business.

The board said the proposals led by Lui are not in the best interests of the company and would “result not only in a material loss of value for shareholders but also lower dividends.”


©2023 Bloomberg L.P.