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Feb 20, 2013

C.Agricole loss balloons on writedowns, Greece

PARIS, Feb 20 (Reuters) – Credit Agricole posted a
6.5 billion-euro ($8.68 billion) full-year loss – the worst
since the French bank went public in 2001 – as taxes on the sale
of its Greek unit pushed the bank deeper than expected into the
red .

Bank executives told reporters an unexpected decision by
French tax authorities to disallow a tax deduction the bank was
seeking for the sale of Emporiki Bank triggered an 838
million-euro tax hit, pushing fourth-quarter writedowns to 4.53
billion.

Feb 18, 2013

Natixis shares soar on ownership overhaul

PARIS, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Shares in Natixis rose
as much as 24 percent on Monday, a day after the French
investment bank said it would simplify its finances by selling
its stake in the network of cooperative lenders which controls
it, paving the way for higher dividends.

The bank, rescued in the financial crisis in 2009 through a
government-backed merger of its retail cooperative parents, has
since been undergoing a gradual restructuring aimed at selling
off risky assets.

Feb 17, 2013

Natixis to simplify structure, pay special dividend

PARIS, Feb 17 (Reuters) – French bank Natixis said
on Sunday it would simplify its finances by shedding a 20
percent stake in BPCE, a network of cooperative lenders which
controls it, paving the way for higher dividends in the future.

Natixis said it would sell 12 billion euros ($16.02 billion)
in investment certificates through which it owned a fifth of
parent company BPCE to BPCE and its cooperative shareholders.

Feb 7, 2013

European insurers shadow banks in bid to boost yields

PARIS, Feb 7 (Reuters) – European insurers and asset
managers are taking on more risk to boost investment returns by
lending to big-ticket infrastructure projects, companies and
property developers where banks might no longer be able to
provide.

The diversification, starting from a small base, stretches
from France, where BNP Paribas Investment Partners
recently launched its third corporate debt fund for insurers in
a year, to northern Europe, where Swiss Re is to
invest $500 million in senior debt issued by northern European
infrastructure projects.

Feb 4, 2013

Lazard, Messier mandated to sell Maisons du Monde chain

PARIS (Reuters) – Investment banks Lazard and Messier Maris have been mandated to sell Maisons du Monde, a furniture store chain owned by private equity firms Apax and LBO France, sources familiar with the deal said on Wednesday.

Lazard and Messier Maris, the boutique bank controlled by former Vivendi Chief Executive Jean-Marie Messier, were chosen last week to run the process, expected to kick off later this month, the sources said.

Feb 1, 2013

Credit Agricole takes $5 billion hit as banks struggle to move on

PARIS (Reuters) – Credit Agricole (CAGR.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), France’s No. 3 bank, announced a further 3.8 billion euros ($5.2 billion) in charges on Friday as banks struggle to move on from ill-timed deals before the 2008 financial crisis.

The charges come less than three months after Credit Agricole unveiled 3.6 billion euros of writedowns with its third-quarter results and will plunge it to the largest annual loss since it went public in 2001.

Feb 1, 2013

C.Agricole takes $5bln hit as banks struggle to move on

PARIS, Feb 1 (Reuters) – Credit Agricole, France’s
No. 3 bank, announced a further 3.8 billion euros ($5.2 billion)
in charges on Friday as banks struggle to move on from ill-timed
deals before the 2008 financial crisis.

The charges come less than three months after Credit
Agricole unveiled 3.6 billion euros of writedowns with its
third-quarter results and will plunge it to the largest annual
loss since it went public in 2001.

Jan 31, 2013

Carlyle, KKR among Maje, Sandro bidders: sources

PARIS (Reuters) – Private equity firms including Carlyle (CG.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and KKR (KKR.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) this week submitted non-binding offers for control of French fashion brands Maje, Sandro and Claudie Pierlot, sources familiar with the transaction told Reuters.

The auction of the brands, known for their trendy and affordable ready-to-wear garments, has generated close interest in part because of a dearth of similar assets of that size on the market, one of the sources said.

Jan 25, 2013

Credit Agricole Bankinter stake sale offset by charge

PARIS (Reuters) – Credit Agricole (CAGR.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) sold a 5.2 percent stake in Spain’s Bankinter (BKT.MC: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), continuing its strategy to refocus on domestic operations, but saw profit from the deal eclipsed by a big charge as its owners revalued their Agricole holding.

Credit Agricole is controlled by a network of French regional banks via holding company SAS Rue La Boetie. The banks have adjusted the value of their stake to account for a drop in Agricole’s shares which despite recent gains are worth less than half the price of their December 2001 initial public offering.

Jan 16, 2013

SocGen says writedowns and debt provisions loom

PARIS (Reuters) – Societe Generale (SOGN.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Wednesday that its quarterly earnings would be hit by hundreds of millions of euros of one-off charges.

The bank said it would write down an unspecified portion of 384 million euros ($510.58 million) in goodwill on its balance sheet for brokerage Newedge in the fourth quarter, and would take a charge on its own debt of more than 605 million euros.

    • 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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