SocGen Reports Fourth-Quarter Profit on French Retail
Originally posted on Bloomberg
Societe Generale SA, France’s third- largest bank, had a profit in the fourth quarter as earnings from French consumer lending outweighed losses at the international retail banking and asset management units.
Net income totaled 87 million euros ($110 million), compared with a 3.35 billion-euro deficit a year earlier, when the bank booked trading losses on positions amassed by Jerome Kerviel, the Paris-based bank said today. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had estimated a profit of 109 million euros.
Societe Generale said last month that “resilient activity” at its French retail banking operations helped it break even in the final three months of 2008. It outperformed BNP Paribas SA, France’s biggest bank, which lost about 1.4 billion euros in the quarter as “violent movements” in stock and bond markets battered trading results. Societe Generale increased its dividend 33 percent to 1.20 euros a share even as the economic crisis worsened and spread.
“The significant slowdown in the economy was felt in a number of activities,” Societe Generale said in the statement. “The environment will probably remain challenging throughout 2009.”
In the fourth quarter, Societe Generale’s investment banking unit posted a profit of 56 million euros, compared with a 3.92 billion-euro loss a year earlier. The bank cuts bonuses at the division by an average of 40 percent in 2008, Chief Executive Officer Frederic Oudea said in an interview on BFM radio today.