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BNP Paribas lags behind compatriots in Q1 earnings growth

France's largest bank BNP Paribas has reported strong growth in the first quarter of the year thanks to acquisitions and healthy investment banking returns. However, the French sector leader trailed its main domestic rivals in overall profits growth.

Net profit came in at E2 billion, a 17% rise on the previous year. Operating income was E2.7 billion 36.6%, up on Q1 2005. In terms of BNP’s divisions breakdown, corporate and investment banking fared most positively, increasing pre-tax income 49%. The French bank’s asset management arm also impressed with a 46% rise in pre-tax income.

In its retail operations, BNP achieved a 30.7% rise in net banking income to E1,766 million from its international retail banking business. Domestic French growth was more modest at 11.4% to E1,504 million.

However, BNP fell short of domestic rivals Credit Agricole and Societe Generale in terms of rate of profit growth, which will disappoint both the company and shareholders. Credit Agricole posted a 53% increase in net income to E1.38 billion for the quarter, while net income improved by 20% to E1.47 billion for Societe Generale.