HONG KONG/LONDON - HSBC's biggest shareholder Ping An is likely to vote in favour of splitting the bank up at its annual investor meeting on May 5, a source familiar with the Chinese insurer's thinking said on Monday.
The source said Ping An would vote in favour of two resolutions tabled by individual investor Ken Lui, which call for HSBC to restore dividends to 51 cents per share and to provide regular updates on the possibility of spinning off its Asia business.
HSBC recommended that shareholders vote against the resolutions, and has, since Ping An began urging the spinoff last November, maintained that its global presence is worth more than any such fragmentation would yield.
"We remain clear that our current strategy is the fastest, safest and most value enhancing way to deliver returns," a spokesperson for the bank said on Monday.
A spokesperson for Ping An declined to comment.
HSBC’s other institutional shareholders, particularly in Britain, have so far shown little appetite for a break-up. With an around 8% stake in HSBC, Ping An would not be able to force the issue on its own.
(Reporting by Selena Li in Hong Kong and Lawrence White in London; Editing by Mark Potter)