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Following Russia writedown, SocGen pledges profits

Chief executive of French bank Société Générale, Frédéric Oudéa has pledged the group's Russian business will be among the main drivers of growth in profits in the next three years, after it took a 525 million euro ($731 million) hit on its Russian assets in the first quarter.

Oudéa said the Paris-based lender is aiming for a 14 percent return on equity in 2016 in Russia, delaying original plans to have its Russian operations delivering meaningful profits by 2015.

Read MoreSocGen profit tumbles on Russia unit writedown

"What we see is a slowdown of the Russia economy and we have to adapt to that. We will not change our mind, there is more to be done in this market," he told CNBC, dismissing worries that a weakened Russian rouble poses a threat to targets.

"The majority of our businesses is done in rouble, we collect deposits in rouble and we lend in rouble and that was part of the strategy to again have a self-funded strategy in particular based on the collection of deposits," he said.

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The group reported a 13.3 percent drop in first-quarter net income last week, as it booked a 525 million euro writedown on Rosbank, its Russian banking arm, as the crisis in Ukraine is weighed on profits.

A logo stands above the headquarters of OAO Rosbank in Moscow, Russia
Andrey Rudakov I Bloomberg via Getty Images
A logo stands above the headquarters of OAO Rosbank in Moscow, Russia

Oudéa said the slowdown in the Russian economy had pushed the cost of risk higher, but that he was confident of the group's strategy in the country which includes a focus on insurance and cash services.

Overall the lender is expecting a 3 percent rise in annual revenue growth in 2016 and is targeting a total return on equity above 10 percent over the same period led by international retail banking.

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"Activities in our businesses such as Africa, in Russia, Asia and Germany should grow above 5 percent, so significantly more than the average of the group," he said.

He said the group will remain flexible on how it plans to reward shareholders as he anticipated the bank to generate roughly 14 billion euros of capital.

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