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NEWS

Credit Agricole beats estimates on insurance, consumer finance

Credit Agricole beats estimates on insurance, consumer finance

By Mathieu Rosemain

PARIS (Reuters) – Credit Agricole SA, France’s second-largest listed bank, reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings on Friday, driven by strong insurance and consumer finance performances.

The listed entity of Credit Agricole Group, which is controlled by 39 French mutual banks, also said it had agreed to buy a majority stake in Belgian wealth manager Degroof Petercam for an undisclosed amount in a move that would increase the scope of its Indosuez Wealth Management division by around 50%.

Credit Agricole’s second quarter net income rose 25% from a year earlier to 2.04 billion euros ($2.23 billion), above the 1.39 billion euro bank compiled average of analyst estimates.

Quarterly sales rose by 19% to 6.68 billion euros, also beating the consensus of 5.9 billion euros for the period.

“(It) reported a solid set of results … driven by higher-than-expected revenues and good cost control,” Royal Bank of Canada said in a note.

Both sales and earnings reached record highs in the second quarter, the bank said, driven by the insurance business and its so-called special financial services (SFS) unit.

Xavier Musca, head of Credit Agricole’s investment bank, told reporters the lender aimed to own 80% of Degroof Petercam after the acquisition of a number of family-held stakes.

Flemish family Cigrang would retain 20% under the plan, Musca said. Degroof Petercam has “client assets” of 71 billion euros, Indosuez, which is a subsidiary of Credit Agricole, and Degroof said in a joint statement.

This is roughly half of the assets under management of 130 billion euros at end 2022 cited on Indosuez’s website.

The deal, expected to close in 2024, will cut about 30 basis points from Credit Agricole SA’s Common Equity Tier 1 ratio (CET1) – a key gauge of financial strength – Indosuez said in a statement.

Separately, Credit Agricole said SAS Rue La Boetie, the investment vehicle of Credit Agricole Group’s 39 regional banks, planned to further invest 1 billion euros in the listed entity, increasing its stake from 60.2%.

The investment vehicle has no intention to own more than 65% of Credit Agricole SA, it said in a separate statement.

($1 = 0.9131 euros)

 

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Additional reporting by Piotr Lipinski; Editing by Ingrid Melander, Augustin Turpin and Alexander Smith)

 

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