Crédit Agricole accidentally publishes results

Aug 06, 2013
<p>France's third-biggest bank releases quarterly report early</p>

French bank Crédit Agricole has performed better than expected in its quarterly results – but had to blame a ‘technical error’ for the report’s early publication on its website.

The bank – France’s third-largest in terms of market value – reports that its net income has swelled to €696 mn ($925 mn) in the second quarter of 2013, which represents a significant improvement on the €56 mn reported in the same period last year. Much of this rise, it seems, follows the sale of its loss-making Greek subsidiary, Emporiki Bank, last year for the nominal price of €1.

Although a slide presentation for investors was set to be published alongside further financial information on Tuesday morning, it was made available to visitors as early as Monday.

In the space of a day, the firm’s share price jumped by 2.5 percent, rendering Crédit Agricole one of the best performers on the CAC 40 index. By Tuesday, the price had grown by a further 5 percent to reach €8.24, a 12-month high rate.

Prices then fell back to near those seen on Monday, and it has not been made clear whether investors were able to trade on the information that was released prematurely, or even at what time the presentation was published. Crédit Agricole’s board members, meanwhile, were quick to highlight the positive outlook suggested by the bank’s results.

Despite suffering a €6.5 bn loss in 2012, helped in no small part by writedowns, exceptional losses and provisions related to its Greek, Portuguese and Italian interests, the bank has since shed a number of foreign assets to maintain focus on its domestic market.

‘With more than €484 bn of loans originated by the regional banks and LCL, Crédit Agricole Group is the leading lender in France and plays a key role in helping to restore the French economy,’ says Jean-Marie Sander, chairman of the board.

Indeed, although revenues through the first quarter have fallen slightly to €4.4 bn, the bank’s expenses have been cut by 3 percent and the cost of risk, which includes provisions and non-performing loan losses, was valued at €680 mn, 14 percent lower than previously.

Jean-Paul Chifflet, Crédit Agricole’s CEO, explains that such improvements to the bank’s outlook are due to changes made in light of a changed economic climate and tightening regulation. ‘We are pursuing the path we announced, building on our core strengths and financial soundness while continuing our cost-cutting efforts,’ he says.

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