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An HSBC sign is pictured in Ottawa on Wednesday Sept. 7, 2022. HSBC Holdings plc says it is expecting a later close of the sale of its Canadian division to Royal Bank of Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean KilpatrickSean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

HSBC Holdings plc says the sale of its Canadian division to Royal Bank of Canada RY-T is going to take longer than first expected, but that the deal remains a key priority.

London-based HSBC says it now expects to complete the $13.5-billion transaction in the first quarter of 2024, rather than late this year as it guided when it announced the deal last November.

The bank says the later close is to ensure a smooth transition, while several other recent bank deals have taken longer than expected amid heightened regulatory scrutiny including TD’s still pending takeover of First Horizon.

The Competition Bureau on Tuesday put out a call for input from the public on the RBC deal, seeking information that would help it assess potential impacts on competition from the deal.

Both the Competition Bureau and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions are reviewing the transaction, which requires approval from the finance minister.

HSBC Bank Canada says it had a record profit of $309 million before income tax expense in the first quarter, up $17 million from the same quarter last year, while its total assets were $123.3 billion at quarter end.

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