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HONG KONG (AP) - HBSC says it is selling its 15.6 percent stake in China's Ping An Insurance to a Thai conglomerate for about $9.4 billion.

HSBC said Wednesday in a statement to Hong Kong's stock exchange that Thailand's Charoen Pokphand Group will pay 59 Hong Kong dollars ($7.61) a share.

The sale is part of a broader push by Europe's biggest bank to improve its profitability as lenders worldwide struggle with weak economic growth and stricter regulation following the global financial crisis. Its three-year restructuring plan involves selling or closing weak businesses.

For Charoen Pokphand, the acquisition is a big expansion into financial services. Its businesses include agriculture, ready-to-heat meals, motorcycle manufacturing and property development.

Ping An is based in the southern Chinese boomtown of Shenzhen, which neighbors Hong Kong.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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