Credit Agricole Q4 profit falls after writedown on French retail unit

Credit Agricole

, France's biggest retail bank, beat forecasts with a smaller than expected earnings drop in the fourth quarter after it booked a writedown on the value of its French retail unit, blaming a low interest rate environment.

Credit Agricole's fourth-quarter net income fell to 291 million ($307.82 million) versus 882 million a year ago, although the result beat the average of analyst estimates of 254 million in a Reuters poll.

Revenues rose 7 percent to 4.58 billion euros, above the poll average of 4.36 billion, helped by stronger results in its asset management and investment banking divisions.

"Only retail banking...did not contribute to revenue growth due to the low interest rate environment," the bank said in a statement.

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