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BNP Paribas earnings hit by US settlement

'Headwinds and tailwinds' for 2015: BNP Paribas CEO

French bank BNP Paribas reported a sharp decline in full-year net profit on Thursday, of 157 million euros ($178 million) in 2014 -- down 96.7 percent on the previous year – on the back of penalties.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a net profit of 531 million euros.

BNP said the results were hit by one-off items of 7.4 billion euros, including 6 billion euros for a settlement with the U.S. Excluding one-off items, net profit came in at 7 billion euros.

Lars Machenil, chief financial officer of BNP, told CNBC that although the settlement had impacted domestic business, the bank had "engines of growth."

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"If you look at our domestic markets overall there is some impact on it, but of course we compensate for it by looking at the costs, so we basically…compensate the value creation through that," he told CNBC Wednesday.

"On the other hand, in our retail banking (division), there are also our specialized businesses, such as personal finance...that have performed very well this year."

In July 2014, BNP pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions against Sudan, Cuba and Iran and agreed to pay almost $9 billion a settlement with U.S. authorities.

Prosecutors had accused the bank of processing billions of dollars through the U.S. financial system on behalf of some countries that are barred because of human rights abuses, support for terrorists and other national security concerns, Reuters reported.

Looking ahead, Machenil said the bank faced other challenges.

"However, if you look at what is in store for 2015 you see some headwinds, you see some tailwinds, you see low interest rates, you see GDP (gross domestic product) which is a bit lackluster so far in Europe," he said.

"But on the other hand you have the oil price which is very low, the euro which is very low and you see the ECB (European Central Bank) trying some of its tools in order to address the some might see a glimmer of hope but we'll have to see how it unfolds."

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