China's CITIC Securities to cut overseas business costs after profits tank

* CITIC Sec to cut CLSA's overseas operating costs by 25-30


* CITIC Sec posted lowest annual profit in three years

* Plans to boost overseas revenue to 30 pct of total in 5


(Adds comment, background, details)

HONG KONG, March 24 (Reuters) - CITIC Securities Co Ltd

, China's biggest brokerage, plans to cut

operating costs of its overseas business by 25-30 percent, the

head of its overseas unit said on Friday.

Earlier this week, the broker posted its lowest annual

profit in three years for 2016, at 10.4 billion yuan - down 47.6

percent from 2015, as lacklustre stock market activity pushed

down net fee and commission income by almost a quarter.

Brokers in the country have been struggling after a stock

market boom came to a turbulent end in 2015. The reality of

continued weakness on the Shanghai and Shenzhen markets have

since prompted some brokerages to slash commissions and scale

back staff benefits to keep costs in check.

Amid bleak prospects at home, CITIC Securities plans to

increase the revenue it gets from CLSA, its international arm,

to 30 percent of the brokerage's total in five years, from 10

percent now, CLSA Chairman Tang Zhenyi told reporters.

The brokerage is also looking to acquire advisory assets in

the United States and a deal could be announced by the end of

this year, CLSA Chief Executive Jonathan Slone said.

"We are looking at everything. But we are certainly in no

rush to acquire anything," said Slone.

(Reporting by Julie Zhu in Hong Kong, writing by Sumeet

Chatterjee in Hong Kong and Engen Tham in Shanghai; Editing by

Himani Sarkar)