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BNP Paribas CEO Warns of ‘Standstill’ as Profits Beat

CNBC.com with Reuters
Wednesday, 7 Nov 2012 | 2:33 AM ET

Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, the CEO of BNP Paribas, told CNBC that the bank's latest third-quarter results were positive despite the negative economic backdrop but he warned that Europe's economy was at a standstill.

Allan Baxter | Digital Vision | Getty Images

"The economy is slowing down so we are at some kind of a standstill throughout Europe, so this has an impact on the global business of the banks," he said.

BNP Paribas posted forecast-beating third-quarter results on the back of strong capital-markets trading and a drop in euro zone losses, helping it meet balance-sheet targets ahead of schedule.

On Wednesday, the French bank reported third-quarter that its profit had more than doubled to 1.32 billion euros ($1.69 billion) from 541 million in the same period a year ago. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast profit of 1.18 billion.

"These are very nice results looking at the operational division…all in all, since the beginning of this year we have more than 6 billion euros of net profit. This is positioning BNP Paribas quite well among peers HSBC and Citigroup ."

BNP said its closely watched core capital ratio under tougher Basel III rules stood at 9.5 percent at end-September, a fresh high that puts it ahead of rivals like UBS and Bank of America sooner than expected.

After Swiss UBS announced 10,000 job cuts earlier this month, Bonnafé said there were no plans to make cuts to BNP Paribas' workforce, saying "this was not the situation for us."

"We believe that this business is very customer-centric, it is very well positioned for the years to come in the European economy, knowing that we will see year after year more disintermediation from bank balance sheets to markets to finance the global economy in Europe."

Bonnafé added that he was confident of the pickup in the U.S. economy.

"We believe there are clear signs of some kind of a rebound so we believe that quite soon there will be some kind of a pick-up in the U.S. economy."

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