UPDATE 2-SocGen Q2 profit more than doubles, trading surges
* Earnings and revenue beat analyst forecasts
* Fixed income, equities growth outperform peers
* Bank sticks to profit goals, capital ahead of schedule
* International retail arm swings to profit
* Books third litigation provision in as many quarters
(Adds details on foreign retail, toxic assets)
PARIS, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Societe Generale, France's No. 2 listed bank, said second-quarter earnings more than doubled after a surge in securities trading and a swing to profit at its foreign retail operations defied Europe's slump.
Quarterly net income soared to 955 million euros ($1.27 billion) from 436 million in the year-ago period, while revenue slipped 0.6 percent to 6.23 billion, the bank said on Thursday.
Both figures were ahead of analysts' estimates, according to a poll compiled by Thomson Reuters Eikon, with the average forecast for net profit at 703 million euros and for revenue at 5.88 billion.
Like larger domestic rival BNP Paribas - which also beat results forecasts on Wednesday, though with a weaker investment-banking performance - SocGen is in the early stages of a multi-year cost-cutting programme intended to fight the euro zone's economic woes without a more radical restructuring.
The French bank stuck to its 2015 return-on-equity target of 10 percent and said its Basel III core capital ratio had risen to 9.4 percent - almost six months ahead of schedule. Its Basel III leverage ratio will be above 3 percent by end-2013, it said.
"We are ticking the boxes (on Basel III)," SocGen Chief Executive Frederic Oudea told CNBC.
SocGen's fixed-income unit saw 17.2 percent growth year-on-year, outperforming U.S. heavyweights like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley - up 11 percent and 16 percent respectively - while larger European banks like Germany's Deutsche Bank and BNP saw declines in fixed income.
In equities, SocGen grew sales by 38.3 percent year-on-year, again better than European peers like BNP, Credit Suisse and Barclays, though slightly short of the 40-50 percent gains posted by several Wall Street firms.
Investment-banking profits almost tripled overall to 374 million euros, helped also by SocGen's sale of a chunk of bad debt assets left over from the 2008 financial crisis.
GAINS ABROAD, DECLINES AT HOME
SocGen's bottom line was also buoyed by cost savings and a turnaround at its foreign retail operations, heavily skewed towards Russia and Eastern Europe, which swung to profit due to falling loan losses and restructuring measures.
The division reported profit of 59 million euros versus a 231 million-euro loss in the year-ago period.
Its Russian unit Rosbank - which was rocked by the arrest of its head on bribery charges in May - has a new CEO and is targeting a profit boost in a fragmented, state-dominated banking market that for years has failed to deliver meaningful profits for SocGen and that has chased out many rivals.
However, SocGen's domestic retail operations, once a reliable profit driver thanks to French households' low debt levels, saw profits fall 11.4 percent as the weak economy pushed up loan-loss provisions and offset an uptick in revenues.
SocGen also booked its third litigation provision in as many quarters, setting aside 100 million euros for unspecified "dispute" risks.
SocGen shares have gained 6.6 percent year-to-date, outperforming the European sector but lagging domestic rivals like Credit Agricole and Natixis, giving it a market value of 24.1 billion euros. ($1 = 0.7531 euros)
(Editing by James Regan and Elizabeth Piper)