Societe Generale Profits Soar

French lender Societe Generale capped a strong recovery in 2010, with net profit soaring nearly six-fold to 3.92 billion Euros ($5.29 billion) as bad loan provisions fell and it cut costs.

The results were in line with analyst forecasts. The group, whose reputation was dented badly by a massive 2008 rogue trader scandal, posted profits of some 3.0 billion Euros over the three quarters to September.

It said retail banking earnings rose 17 percent for the year while the investment and finance arm jumped 160 percent as Societe Generale reduced the bad loans on its books.

Total net banking income -- gross earnings -- rose 21 percent to 26.4 billion Euros.

Societe Generale said its core capital adequacy ratio rose to 8.5 percent from 8.4 percent under current regulatory standards which require 8.0 percent.

It announced late last year that it would increase its top-ranked capital to the equivalent of 7.5 percent of the risk assets on its books at the beginning of 2013 so as to meet new and much tougher Basel III bank capital standards.

These standards were introduced in response to the near failure of the U.S. and European banking sectors in the global crisis and require that the most readily available form of capital held by banks must amount to 7.0 percent of the risk assets on their books.

Societe Generale said that to reinforce its reserves it would pay out only 35 percent of 2010 earnings as dividends for shareholders, keeping the rest.

The payment, however, at 1.75 Euros per share, will still be much higher than the 0.25 Euros paid in 2009.

Source: Agence France Presse

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