The Middle East arm of the UK’s HSBC has reported pre-tax profits of $1.35bn in 2012, a 9.5 per cent fall compared with the previous year, as a result of falling income at its investment banking unit and a $85m investment loss.

Simon Cooper, chief executive of HSBC Middle East, said that bank had “improved the quality of our assets and achieved $70m of sustainable cost saves”, while at the same time exiting and restructuring a number of different businesses in the region.

HSBC has one the largest footprints of international banks operating in the region and in the past 12 months acquired the retail and commercial banking operations of the UK’s Lloyds Banking Group in the UAE and merged its operations in Oman with Oman International Bank. It also sold its regional private equity business and shrank the size of its Islamic banking arm, HSBC Amanah.

Cooper added that although the profit level was “slightly down on 2011, as a business we’re in a strong position and I’m confident at the opportunities for growth in 2013”.