BNP Paribas profit misses, hit by legal provision

BNP Paribas impacted by legal provisions: CEO

French lender BNP Paribas reported net profit for 2013 that missed market expectations with two different charges for the bank hitting its figures for the year.

It reported a net profit of 4.8 billion euros ($6.5 billion), a 26.4 percent drop from the previous year and below estimates of 5.7 billion euros in a Reuters poll. Excluding one-off items, that figure came in at 6 billion euros for the year, a fall of 5.3 percent. Net profit for the fourth quarter also failed to meet analysts' predictions.

The bank - France's largest bank by assets - took a 661 million euro charge in connection with a new cost reduction plan. On top of that, it took a 798 million euros ($1.1 billion) provision against possible penalties for allegedly flouting U.S. rules and paying parties subject to U.S. economic sanctions.

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In its press release on Thursday, BNP Paribas noted that it had conducted an internal retrospective review of certain U.S. dollar payments over several years. This involved countries, persons and entities that could have been subject to economic sanctions under U.S. law. The review identified a significant volume of transactions that could be considered impermissible under U.S. laws and regulations, it said.

Lars Machenil, chief financial officer of BNP Paribas told, CNBC Thursday that the bank had presented the findings of this review to the U.S. authorities and commenced subsequent discussions with them.

Michel Gangne | AFP | Getty Images

However, he added that he hadn't discussed the amount of provisions that it had set aside for the charges with the U.S. authorities and the final amount could therefore be different from what it has provisioned.

"The U.S. authorities have not approved or passed upon the adequacy or reasonableness of such provision. There therefore remains considerable uncertainty as to the actual amount of fines or penalties that the U.S. authorities could impose on the bank following completion of the ongoing process, the timing of which is uncertain," the bank said on Thursday.

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Machenil told CNBC that the final amount could be "very different" from what it has provisioned and insisted that if BNP Paribas hadn't been hit by these two charges then its full-year results would have looked "resilient" with net profit of 6 billion euros.

Meanwhile, revenue totaled 38.82 billion euros for the last year, 0.6 percent lower compared to 2012. Market expectations were for a figure of 38.46 billion euros.

Shares in the bank closed around 3.2 percent lower on the Parisian stock exchange.

BNP Paribas also said that its common equity tier 1 ratio (Basel III) - how much money the bank holds compared to its assets - stood at 10.3 percent.

It added that it would be targeting a dividend payout ratio of 45 percent for the 2014-2016 period, and a return on equity of at least 10 percent in 2016. It is also targeting double-digit average annual growth rates for earnings per share between 2013 and 2016.

The bank will propose paying a 1.5 euro per share dividend, paid in cash, which is stable compared to last year.

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