Societe Generale CEO Frederic Oudea said there are “some positive signs” that things are improving within the European Union, albeit slowly.
“We ended 2011 with a lot of fear on the euro zone,” the banker said from Davos Thursday. “I think there are some positive signs. There are still some challenges ahead but overall a little bit more positive.”
The euro zone governments have a tough job to do, he said, but they all must work together on economic, budget and tax policy “to improve the governance of Europe. It cannot just be done in a few weeks or months. It’s a big change. It might take longer than certain people expect from the market but I think it will move forward. We have, anyway, no choice.”
Societe Generale “has to raise something like two billion euros” ($2.6 billion) to meet Basel 3 capital requirements, he said, and “we're very confident to do it with our retained earnings and, of course, the refocusing of our business with some deleveraging.”
The bank is “selling assets in a selective way. There is still a lot of appetite for U.S.- denominated assets,” he said.