Rapid growth in Asia and a resilient performance in the UK helped drive profits of £13.8 billion at banking giant HSBC.

Profits rose 15 per cent across the year, which is among the biggest ever reported by a British company and close to its record of 24 billion US dollars set in 2007.

The banking giant, which makes an estimated 90 per cent of its money outside Britain and has benefited from its exposure to emerging markets in Asia, said UK pre-tax profits rose 17.2 per cent to £1.5 billion.

Chief executive Stuart Gulliver is to be awarded a total pay package of up to £6.7 million for 2010 as his £2 million salary and allowances will be boosted by a £2.2 million bonus and other long-term incentives.

The final element will be in shares and cannot be sold until he retires or leaves HSBC.

HSBC’s performance was lifted by a 12 per cent rise in revenues in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East and North Africa, which now account for 49 per cent of its revenues, while its commercial banking arm enjoyed record pre-tax profits of £5 billion up 31 per cent on the previous year.

It comes after state-backed Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland reported hefty losses, while Barclays reported a fall in profits.

Mr Gulliver said 2011 was “a year of major progress for HSBC”.

He said: “We recorded a strong performance in faster-growing markets and had a record year in commercial banking.

“I am pleased with our progress but there is a lot more to do and we remain focused on delivering our targets.”