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Crédit Agricole beats consensus despite market shocks

[Article mis à jour à 10h]

Robust. This is the term employed by analysts broker Jefferies to qualify the annual results of Credit Agricole, published Thursday, February 14. The green bank exceeded expectations, despite a turbulent end of the year on the markets, which led BNP Paribas and Societe Generale to review their objectives a few days ago. The performance is due in particular to the good results of international retail banking (in Italy, in particular) and insurance, as well as to the lowering of the cost of risk, which made it possible to offset the air gap in the corporate and investment banking (CACIB) and the asset management (Amundi), hit hard by the ups and downs of global stock markets.

Fourth quarter, Credit Agricultural SA (CASA), the listed entity, generated net banking income of 4.85 billion euros, an increase of more than 4% and a net profit multiplied by 2.6 to 1 billion euros (+ 21.6% excluding exceptional items, the last quarter of 2017 having been impacted by the exceptional surcharge on large groups to offset the cancellation of the tax on dividends). Over the full year, the group achieved a net profit of 4.4 billion euros, up 20.6%.

"In 2018, we exceeded one year in advance our main objectives. This is an asset for our next Medium-Term Plan to be unveiled on June 6, "said Philippe Brassac, CEO of Crédit Agricole S.A. (CASA).

In particular, it exceeds the target of 4.2 billion euros of net profit expected in 2019.

The CASA share opened up more than 1.5% on Thursday morning, before turning in the red 30 minutes later. The title had rebounded 6% since January after a bad year 2018 (-34%), like all French banks.

No loss in the markets

The green bank has pretty well cashed in the financial market turmoil. It still recorded a 29% drop in its market activities.

"We did not experience any losses on market activities. We have simply suffered a fall in revenues, a fall in volumes, "said Jerome Grivet, deputy general manager in charge of finance Agricultural SA, at a press conference. "This does not lead us to say that there are activities to stop or close. "

He also welcomed the dynamism of the commercial group "Gained 1.8 million new customers in our retail banking business in France and Italy". Despite the low interest rate environment, LCL's net banking income was almost stable over the year (-0.4%), at € 3.4 billion, its net profit rose by 14% to € 588 million. euros.

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