HSBC in Pending Acquisition of Leading Central American Banking Group Grupo Banistmo, S.A.

July 20, 2006

Cleary Gottlieb is representing long-time client HSBC, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations, in connection with its pending acquisition of Panama-based Grupo Banistmo, S.A. Banistmo owns Panama’s largest bank and insurance company, and has a significant presence across Central America.

The transaction is valued at approximately US $1.8 billion and is subject to various regulatory approvals. It will take the form of a cash tender offer and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2006.