A man walks past the HSBC’s Hong Kong headquarters in central district of Hong Kong March 4, 2013. (Vincent Yu/AP)
HSBC posts profit after restructuring

HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank by market value, said Monday that its first-half profit rose 22 percent as it reaped the benefits of restructuring measures and reduced loan losses in the United States. Its shares fell, however, on concern about growth in China, a key market.

The bank, which gets more than 60 percent of its income from Asia, said Monday that its net income rose to $10.3 billion in the first half of the year from $8.4 billion in the corresponding period in 2012.

In the United States, loan impairment charges were down to $1.3 billion, or 29 percent, compared with the first half of 2012. The decrease reflected improvements in the housing market and lower delinquency levels.

The bank sold a $3.7 billion non-real estate loan portfolio. HSBC also said it cut costs by $800 million during the period — taking annual savings to $4.1 billion since the start of 2011.

Chief executive Stuart Gulliver said the bank’s priority is to implement a global standard of conduct and compliance. The focus on ethics comes after the group agreed to pay almost $2 billion last year to settle a money-laundering case involving illicit drug money from Mexico. It also handled assets belonging to Iran and to Libya. The bank has struggled to clear its name and restore its reputation.

— Associated Press

Chevron to pay fines of $2 million for fire

Chevron on Monday agreed to pay $2 million in fines and restitution and pleaded no contest to six charges in a fire last summer at its refinery in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Richmond that sent thousands of residents to hospitals, many complaining of respiratory problems.

The San Ramon, Calif.-based oil giant entered the plea to charges filed by the California Attorney General’s Office and the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office, including failing to correct deficiencies in equipment and failing to require the use of certain equipment to protect employees from potential harm.

Both Chevron and government investigations determined that corrosion in a pipe caused a leak that sparked the Aug. 6, 2012, fire, sending a plume of black smoke over nearby residential areas. The investigations found Chevron failed to replace the 1970s-era pipe despite numerous warnings from its own inspectors.

In January, the company said in a report to county health officials that it had already paid about $10 million in connection to nearly 24,000 claims from residents, and in compensation to area hospitals and local government agencies in Richmond and in Contra Costa County.

— Associated Press

Also in Business

l  Royal Dutch Shell’s oil-spill plans for drilling in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas don’t violate environmental laws, a federal judge in Anchorage ruled in rejecting a challenge by conservation groups. The Interior Department’s approval process wasn’t flawed or based on erroneous assumptions and the approvals don’t violate the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws, U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline ruled Monday. Shell halted operations off the Alaskan coast after accidents in 2012. Environmental groups such as Greenpeace criticized the plans, saying oil spills above the Arctic circle would be almost impossible to clean up.

l  Revlon, the maker of cosmetics under its namesake and Almay brands, agreed to buy the Colomer Group for about $660 million in cash from CVC Capital Partners to bolster its offerings to professional salon customers. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter, Revlon said Monday in a statement. The takeover gives Revlon the Creative Nail professional and Shellac nail polishes as well as American Crew men’s hair-care products.

l  U.S. service firms expanded in July at the fastest pace since February, fueled by a brisker month of business and a rise in new orders. The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its index of service-sector growth rose in July to 56.0, up from 52.2 in June. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

l  The European Commission approved the proposed merger between US Airways and AMR, the parent of American Airlines, removing another obstacle to the deal. As a condition of its approval, the commission is requiring the new combined carrier to give up one daily take-off and landing slot between London’s Heathrow Airport and Philadelphia. US Airways operates one daily flight between London and Philadelphia, while American’s Oneworld alliance partner, British Airways, operates two daily flights between the cities.

l  The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said Monday that it fined Oppenheimer & Co. $1.4 million for selling unregistered penny-stock shares and failing to have an adequate compliance program to detect and report suspicious penny-stock transactions. The watchdog said that from 2008 to 2010, Oppenheimer sold more than a billion shares of 20 penny stocks without registrations. Penny stocks is a term for low-priced and highly speculative securities.

— From news services

Coming Today

l  8:30 a.m.: International trade data for June.

l  Earnings: CVS Caremark, DISH Network, Walt Disney, 21st Century Fox.