French bank Societe Generale reported a fivefold increase in its first-quarter net income thanks to investment banking gains and a smaller hit from its struggling Russian unit.
The bank posted net income of 868 million euros ($972 million) for the first three months, up from 169 million in the same period of last year, when the company took a 525 million euro writedown on its Russian business.
The bank suffered a fresh 91 million euro loss in the reporting quarter on its Russian business as loan demand dropped in the country in the grips of a deep recession triggered by Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis and lower oil prices.
Shares of the French lender have been hit over the last year by concerns over Russia, with Societe Generale having a strong exposure to that market.
However, Societe Generale CEO, Frederic Oudea, told CNBC that there are now signs of normalization for its Russian operations.
"Things are moving well," he said.
"In Russia, as expected, the quarter has been more difficult because households have stopped borrowing to buy cars. But I must say that we have seen, progressively, signs of normalization with interest rates going down, with the ruble improving versus the dollar."
Shares slipped on Wednesday morning as investors dumped its stock, which saw losses of 3.6 percent in the first hour of trading.