BNP Paribas reports quarterly profit surge

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French bank BNP Paribas surprised analysts on Monday by reporting unexpectedly strong second-quarter net profit, showing a 31-percent rise to 2.105 billion euros (2.753 billion dollars).

Analysts as polled by Dow Jones Newswires had expected a figure of 1.630 billion euros, and the strong outcome was mainly the result of a fall in underperforming loans and of a strong performance in asset management.

Provisions for bad loans fell by half from the equivalent figure last year during the financial crisis to 1.08 billion euros. The figure also fell by 19.0 percent from the level in the first quarter of this year.

Pre-tax profit by the retail banking arm more than doubled on a strong performance in France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, recovery in the European Mediterranean area and by the US subsidiary Bancwest.

The division handling asset management, private banking, insurance and securities also raised its results, notably because of a strong performance in insurance and because costs rose less than income.

But financing and investment activities slowed down, as has been the case for many big banks with activities in these fields.

© 2010 AFP

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