HSBC Holdings is seeking to sell three of its biggest office towers including the headquarters at Canary Wharf in London to raise up to GBP2.7 billion (HK$30.64 billion), according to Britain's Sunday Times. The newspaper yesterday cited a source as saying HSBC would sell three office blocks including the Docklands headquarters, the French base on Champs Elysees and the offices in New York. CB Richard Ellis has been appointed to head the sale process, with a supporting role from Jones Lang LaSalle, it said. An HSBC spokesman yesterday said it had no comment on the market rumours. The bank intended to lease back the offices for a 10-year term after the transaction, the report said. However, the deal could lapse if there were no interested buyers, it added. This will be HSBC's second sale of its London headquarters in two years. HSBC sold the 100,000 square metre tower for GBP1.1 billion in mid-2007 at the height of the property boom to troubled Spanish property firm Metrovacesa. The bank then leased back the property. Last year, it bought the building back for GBP800 million, making a GBP300 million profit. HSBC's American depositary receipts closed 9.1 per cent higher at US$35.02 last Thursday before the Easter holiday, after gaining 5.27 per cent in Hong Kong to HK$50.90. The bank completed a record-breaking US$17.7 billion rights issue last week, with shareholders taking up almost 97 per cent of the stocks on offer. The deal came after HSBC insisted that it had no plan to seek a rescue from the British government. However, credit rating agency Moody's Investors Service put a 'negative' outlook on the bank and questioned its plans for the proceeds of a rights issue. 'If this additional capital is allocated to substantial acquisitions rather than being largely employed to cover the existing risks in the portfolio, then this could increase the downward pressure on the Aa2 rating,' said Moody's analyst Elisabeth Rudman.