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May 9, 2013

Credit Agricole’s latest Italy blow may not be last

PARIS, May 9 (Reuters) – Credit Agricole’s part in
a 450 million euro ($592.8 million) capital injection into its
Italian consumer credit arm is a reminder that a retreat from
other parts of southern Europe leaves it with exposure to the
region’s largest economy.

The Agos Ducato unit, which Credit Agricole this week
confirmed is likely to provision for some 1 billion euros in bad
loans this year, is a reminder of the bank’s soured bet on Italy
even after it has exited Greece and cut its exposure to Spain.

May 7, 2013

French banks battle economy with more cost cuts

PARIS, May 7 (Reuters) – French banks Societe Generale
and Credit Agricole vowed on Tuesday to keep
cutting costs after asset sales and lending cutbacks helped to
offset a weak domestic economy in the first quarter.

Banks across Europe are moving to slash spending and cut
jobs in the face of tougher rules about capital levels and the
uneven post-crisis economic recovery.

May 3, 2013

Colony Capital ups its French bets, sees Hollande shift

PARIS (Reuters) – Colony Capital, the $27 billion U.S. investment fund attracting controversy in France over its involvement in Carrefour and Accor, will invest up to $2 billion in Europe on a bet the business climate will soon improve.

Colony’s chief executive Thomas Barrack said the firm would allocate $1.3 to $2billion investment in France, Italy and Spain over the next eighteen months, aiming to fill a funding gap left by banks which must now comply with new Basel III regulation demanding higher levels of capital.

May 3, 2013

Interview – Colony Capital ups its French bets, sees Hollande shift

PARIS (Reuters) – Colony Capital, the $27 billion (17.4 billion pounds) U.S. investment fund attracting controversy in France over its involvement in Carrefour and Accor, will invest up to 1.5 billion euros in Europe on a bet the business climate will soon improve.

Colony’s chief executive Thomas Barrack said the firm would allocate 1 to 1.5 billion euros investment in France, Italy and Spain over the next eighteen months, aiming to fill a funding gap left by banks which must now comply with new Basel III regulation demanding higher levels of capital.

Apr 29, 2013

Private equity slump hinders France in growth struggle

PARIS/LONDON, April 29 (Reuters) – A collapse of private
equity investment this year seems increasingly emblematic of
France’s deep-seated economic problems and how hard it may prove
to change a vicious cycle of poor growth and weakened companies.

Deals in a sector that is often essential to fuel the
expansion of small and medium-sized businesses have slowed to a
trickle – $437 million in the first quarter of 2013 compared
with a peak of $36 billion in 2006 – and sector players say
there is little prospect of a pickup anytime soon.

Apr 24, 2013

AXA to buy 50 percent of Chinese insurer Tian Ping

PARIS (Reuters) – AXA (AXAF.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said it agreed to buy 50 percent of Chinese property and casualty insurance company Tian Ping for 485 million euros ($631 million) to strengthen its position in high-growth markets.

AXA, which earlier this month sold a portfolio of old life insurance policies in the United States for $1.1 billion, has been expanding into emerging markets as developed markets remain sluggish in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Apr 16, 2013

Astorg hires Goldman to sell funeral firm OGF: sources

PARIS/LONDON (Reuters) – Buyout firm Astorg Partners has hired Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) to look for a buyer for France’s leading funeral services firm, OGF, sources familiar with the mandate said.

The auction of the company, which Astorg acquired for an enterprise value of roughly 300 million euros ($393 million) in 2007, is in its early stages and could be complicated by the links between economic growth – at a virtual standstill in France – and willingness to spend on funeral services.

Apr 15, 2013

Rothschild seeks to buy U.S. fund of funds businesss

PARIS (Reuters) – Rothschild is looking to double the size of its fund of hedge funds business via a U.S. acquisition to give it the scale it needs to flourish in an industry now dominated by a handful of big players.

Rothschild made its first push into the business last year when it bought fund of funds company HDF Finance for an undisclosed amount.

Apr 12, 2013

AXA CEO slams French taxes, rules out Euronext stake

PARIS (Reuters) – AXA (AXAF.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Chief Executive Henri de Castries said the taxation policies of Socialist President Francois Hollande had endangered the world of French finance and ruled out buying into the Euronext stock exchange.

Sources close to the matter told Reuters last week that the government had approached France’s banks and insurers about forming a consortium to buy at least 34 percent of Euronext, set to be spun off as part of Intercontinental Exchange’s takeover of NYSE Euronext (NYX.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Apr 5, 2013

France wants banks to be core Euronext investors – sources

LONDON/PARIS, April 5 (Reuters) – The French government has
approached the country’s banks and insurers about forming a
consortium to buy at least 34 percent of the Euronext stock
exchange, due to be spun off in a public offering, sources close
to the matter said on Friday.

But banks, whose latitude for making such investments have
been reduced by looming capital rules, are resisting the
government’s entreaties, the sources said.

    • About Christian

      "New York-based editor in charge of banks, exchanges, insurers, asset managers and hedge funds coverage as well as separate team that reports on mergers and acquisitions. Previously led aerospace and defense team, also in New York. Was initially hired by Reuters in Milan, where I covered banks and insurers. Before that I was at Bloomberg for 8 years, including a 3 year stint in Sao Paulo."
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