BNP Paribas banks 24 percent rise in 2004 profit

3rd February 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 3 (AFP) - French bank BNP Paribas posted Thursday a 24.1 percent rise in bottom-line profit for last year and said it would pay out a 2004 dividend 38 percent higher than the previous year.

PARIS, Feb 3 (AFP) - French bank BNP Paribas posted Thursday a 24.1 percent rise in bottom-line profit for last year and said it would pay out a 2004 dividend 38 percent higher than the previous year.

The bank reported a 2004 net profit of EUR 4.668 billion (USD 6.084 billion) compared with EUR 3.761 billion in 2003.

The result was in line with analysts' estimates which averaged EUR 4.68 billion.

For the final quarter of last year, the bank reported a net profit of EUR 952 million, 2.7 percent higher than the EUR 927 million reported in the same period in 2003 and in line with analysts’ estimates of EUR 978 million on average.

But in the fourth quarter, the bank was hit with an exceptional charge of EUR 152 million, "enabling once and for all the Group's employee-managed health scheme to cover all the health insurance commitments relating to retirees", it said in a statement.

For 2004, the bank said net banking income rose 5.0 percent to EUR 18.823 billion while gross operating income advanced 8.7 percent to EUR 7.231 billion.

Meanwhile, its return on equity grew 2.5 percentage points to 16.8 percent.

In the fourth quarter, net banking income grew 12 percent to EUR 4.918 billion from the same period in 2003 while gross operating income rose 10.8 percent to EUR 1.802 billion.

The bank also said it would increase its dividend pay-out for 2004 by 38 percent to EUR 2 per shares after analysts had noted the group's dividend payout ratio lagged the sector

BNP Paribas said that it would pursue an "active" dividend distribution policy through to 2007.

It would also continue its share buyback programme up to 2007, with the volume at least matching the shares issued under a programme for the group's employees.

The company indicated a continuation of its policy of acquisitions targeted at the retail banking sectors in Europe and the United States.

BNP Paribas chief executive Baudouin Prot said that "in the coming years, the group will be pursuing an ambitious organic growth strategy in each of the core businesses, supplemented by active and disciplined external growth."

© AFP

Subject: French News

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