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Societe Generale profit more than doubles

French banking group Societe Generale reported forecast-beating second-quarter earnings on Thursday which more than doubled from the same period a year ago, despite tough conditions in Europe.

Second quarter net profit came in at 955 million euros ($1.26 billion), above a Reuters consensus of 703 million euros, from 436 million euros in the year-ago period.

Societe Generale shares close around 10 percent higher on Thursday.

The group kept its 2015 profit target and said the cost-cutting plan announced in the previous quarter was in the process of being implemented: 170 million euros in cost savings had been secured out of a total plan of 900 million euros by 2015.

"I'm very happy with business performance on the French retail, strong growth of revenues plus 3 percent. Good monitoring of costs and a strong improvement of gross operating income...so that's very positive," chief executive Frédéric Oudéa told CNBC.

Oudea said the bank was evolving: "What is very clear from the results in the second quarter is that there are a series of projects that are delivering results and it's not just from this quarter, it goes back two years. We are fundamentally adapting our business and I think we're getting results."

"Across the board there is an improvement in the cost-to-income ratios and I'm very positive about the dynamic in that field," he added.

He said the results had improved despite an economic slowdown in Europe and in a statement released by the group, Oudea commented that the good performance in the first half of 2013 was "underpinned by the quality of the franchises and the fundamental work carried out over several years in order to adapt them to a new economic and regulatory environment."

He said a European-wide banking union could boost the competitiveness of European banks and give them a "voice" in terms of regulation.

"I think it's very important to have a voice to speak on behalf of Europe, to [speak to] the Federal Reserve or to the U.K. regulator, to harmonize rules in Europe to ensure that the banking system is strong and to have also a strategic view on the banking world and sector to help banks in Europe to be competitive. It's important," he said.

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