HONG KONG (Reuters) -HSBC Holdings raised its key performance target on Tuesday as its first-half profit surged more than two-fold, supported by rising interest rates around the world and the positive effects of its planned French unit sale.

The London-headquartered bank also announced the second of a new cycle of buybacks of up to $2 billion, which starts immediately.

Europe’s largest bank with a market value of $162 billion posted a pretax profit of $21.7 billion for the first six months this year, versus $9.2 billion a year earlier.

The results were better than the $20.9 billion mean average estimate of brokers compiled by HSBC.

HSBC raised its near-term return on tangible equity goal, a key performance target, to at least mid-teens for 2023 and 2024, from a previous target of at least 12% from 2023 onwards. It reported return on tangible equity of 9.9% for 2022.

The bank said it would pay an interim dividend of 10 cents per share.

HSBC, which gets around two-thirds of its revenue from Asia, is putting its global footprint under fresh scrutiny and considering exits from a dozen of countries to boost profits, Reuters reported in May.

The bank on Tuesday said it had reclassified its business in Oman as for sale, after it last year merged its unit there with rival Sohar International Bank.

The lender has also sold its Canadian, French retail and Greek businesses, announced an exit from Russia, and wound down personal banking in New Zealand.

(Reporting by Selena Li and Lawrence White; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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