HSBC has sold its bank in Kazakhstan to the country’s second biggest lender, Halyk Bank for $176 million in cash. This is part of the bank’s strategy in retreating from countries that are unprofitable or where it lacks scale. HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver has sold or closed 63 businesses in the last three years as he tries to cut complexity in an effort to reduce risk and boost profitability at the bank. Halyk is the second largest and most profitable bank among the 38 banks in Kazakhstan, which has a population of 17 million. It is the biggest economy of the former Soviet Union republics after Russia. HSBC Bank Kazakhstan has about 600 employees and six branches and mainly focuses on mass affluent retail customers and corporate clients. It made a profit of about $27 million last year and is one of the country’s top 20 banks, with 1.3% of the assets of Kazakh banks.