SocGen net profit jumps but falls short of forecast

We have grown in a 'difficult environment': Soc Gen

French banking group Societe Generale reported third quarter net profit of 534 million euros ($722.3 million) on Thursday, below expectations in a Reuters poll of 583 million euros.

The figure was an increase from 90 million euros net profit reported in the same quarter last year, however.

The group announced it is to buy Credit Agricole's Newedge stake for 275 million euros.

Shares of Socgen and Credit Agricole were trading higher by 1.13 and 1.6 percent respectively after markets opened on Thursday.

The group's latest report comes after earnings in the second-quarter more than doubled from the same period a year ago, despite tough conditions in Europe, and the group kept its 2015 profit target.

Séverin Cabannes, deputy chief executive of the group, told CNBC on Thursday that the bank had delivered a "solid" set of earnings, despite a difficult economic environment.

"We have grown compared to this time last year by four percent in this difficult environment and this is true for all our businesses,and secondly, our cost containment program is on track," Cabannes said.

The bank announced a cost-cutting plan in the first quarter of the year and has now implemented 260 million euros in cost savings, Cabannes told CNBC, out of a total plan of 900 million euros by 2015. "We are fully on track with that," he said, adding that a "few dozen" of branches could be closed in the near future.

Regarding the deal to take full control of credit derivatives brokerage Newedge, the bank said in its earnings statement that it would enable it "to broaden its services offering from the execution of transactions to post-trade (clearing operations and associated services). It would also help it to intensify its presence in the Americas and Asia regions.

Cabannes said Newedge gave the bank the chance to offer an improved, fully-integrated service to customers. He said the deal would likely be closed next year and added it was too soon to say whether there would be job cuts at the brokerage.

Under the agreement, SocGen will also sell a five percent stake in Amundi - the fund management business jointly owned by the two banks - to Credit Agricole. He said the deal would not change "anything" in the governance of Amundi.

On Thursday, Credit Agricole reported third quarter net profit of 728 million euros, a figure which follows a 2.85 billion euro loss in the same period last year due to costs associated with the sale of the bank's Greek unit Emporiki.

In a statement , the group said its strong results were the result of growth in French retail banking, continued cost reductions and an improvement in the cost of risk.

(Read more: Societe Generale profit more than doubles)