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BNP Paribas profit beats expectations despite investment bank weakness

Key Points
  • Revenues stood at 11.2 billion euros ($13.08 billion) in the second quarter
  • The bank said in a statement that its business increased in the context of higher economic growth in Europe.
  • When asked if BNP Paribas was looking to expand, Machenil said "no".
A sign with the BNP Paribas logo hangs above one of the bank's branches in Paris, France.
Antoine Antoniol | Bloomberg | Getty Images

French bank BNP Paribas reported Wednesday a net income growth of 53 percent from the previous quarter at 2.39 billion euros ($2.79 billion).

From a year ago however, net income came in slightly lower, by 0.1 percent.

The bank said in a statement that its business increased in the context of higher economic growth in Europe. But it also pointed out that "an unfavorable exchange rate effect" and a challenging market environment for corporate and investment banking prevented it from achieving even better results.

Speaking to CNBC, Lars Machenil, chief financial officer, said "the quarter for BNP Paribas has been solid."

Here are some of the highlights in the second-quarter:

  • Revenues at 11.2 billion euros ($13.08 billion)
  • Net income at 2.39 billion euros ($2.79 billion)
  • Outstanding loans up by 3.7 percent from a year ago

BNP Paribas said that is 2020 transformation plan is well underway. The program, which is aiming for "digital transformation" of the business, has allowed for 149 million euros in costs savings during the second quarter of the year, the lender said.

On track for 2020 cost-to-income improvement: BNP Paribas CFO

Nonetheless, in total, the group saw operating expenses going up by 4.2 percent from a year ago. BNP Paribas said this was due to exceptional costs with the mentioned transformation plan and due to restructuring costs with acquisitions.

"Yes, we are doing investments for transforming the bank, we are accompanying growth where it is and for the rest we contain the costs. So we remain on trajectory for the 2020 cost-to-income improvement," Machenil told CNBC's Joumanna Bercetche.

No expansion plans

Amid growing competition, some European lenders have looked at potential mergers to increase their business. Societe Generale, for example, bought the equities and commodities activities of Commerzbank earlier this month.

When asked if BNP Paribas was looking to do similar deals, Machenil said "no".

He also said that the French bank is not doing any special preparations for Brexit, despite having some presence in the U.K. market.

"There's so much uncertainty that is lingering around on what's happening (that) we are focusing on business," he said.