HSBC says weighing buyback of its shares

The HSBC logo is seen at their offices at Canary Wharf financial district in London, Britain, March 3, 2016. REUTERS/Reinhard Krause

HONG KONG (Reuters) - HSBC Holdings HSBA.L0005.HK is studying the possibility of buying back some of its shares, its Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver told shareholders in Hong Kong on Monday, against the backdrop of a sharp drop in the share price of Europe's biggest bank.

HSBC would seek approval for the possible buy back at its annual shareholder meeting in London on Friday, Chairman Douglas Flint separately said at the bank’s informal shareholder meeting in Hong Kong.

The bank’s share price in London has fallen around 30 percent since it announced in June that it is significantly expanding its business in Asia by redeploying up to $230 billion of assets saved from cost-cutting elsewhere into the region.

Since then a slowdown in China’s economic growth meant it has been slower than some analysts expected to redeploy those assets.

The bank’s management said in November that it would consider returning funds from its cost-savings to shareholders if it was not able to redeploy all of those assets but could comfortably meet its regulatory capital requirements.

Reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee; Additional reporting by Rachel Armstrong; Editing by Lisa Jucca and Muralikumar Anantharaman