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MENAFN - AFP - 07/11/2012

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(MENAFN - AFP) French bank BNP Paribas more than doubled net profit in the third quarter to 1.32 billion euros (1.7 billion), beating expectations, but this was partly because the comparable results last year were relatively weak, the group said in a statement on Wednesday.

Net profit surged by 144 percent, but this was compared with the third quarter of last year when the bank made extra write-downs totalling 2.09 billion euros on its holdings of Greek debt.

An exceptional item this time round was a revaluation of debt by the bank to reflect an improvement in market conditions, which set the results back by 774 million euros.

This was matched in part by a difference between the purchase price and book value of assets in Fortis bank as a result of unexpectedly early repayments, which contributed 427 million euros.

The net outcome was higher than expected by analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires who had expected a figure of 1.25 billion euros.

All divisions contributed to an improvement of operating profit.

But the bank reported a slowing of performance in France, its home market, owing to less demand for loans, and also in Italy.

But business in the Netherlands, in southern Europe and at the US subsidiary BancWest partly compensated for this.

The group said that bad risks on the books of its retail banking arm were under control.

The investment banking arm was doing well in the areas of interest rates, shares and consultancy which countered the effects of a reduction of the financing division under a restructuring programme.

The group said that at the end of September it had a ratio of core capital to risks underwritten of 9.5 percent under the new so-called Basel III prudential regulations: the regulations introduced to strengthen banks after the financial crisis and which become fully effective in 2018.

The bank said it had therefore exceeded its target of 9.0 percent for this year.

It had also completed its plan for reducing the exposure of its financing and investment arm by 45 billion euros.


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