BNP Paribas beats profit estimates as growth picks up in Europe

  • The French lender announced a net income attributable to shareholders of 2.1 billion euros ($2.39 billion). Analysts were expecting a net income of 1.97 billion euros for the third quarter of 2018.
  • Lars Machenil , CFO of the bank, told CNBC that "the quarter has seen good business development."

BNP Paribas reported stronger-than-expected results for the third quarter of the year on the back of solid economic growth in Europe and despite challenging market conditions.

The French lender announced a net income attributable to shareholders of 2.1 billion euros ($2.39 billion). Analysts were expecting a net income of 1.97 billion euros for the third quarter of 2018, according to data firm Refinitiv.

Here are some of the key highlights of the third quarter:

  • Revenues stood at 10.4 billion euros, versus 10.4 billion euros a year ago.
  • Operating expenses stood at 7.2 billion euros, versus 7.1 billion euros.
  • Common equity tier 1 ratio was 11.7 percent, a 25-basis point increase from the previous quarter.

Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, the chief executive officer of BNP Paribas, said in a statement that "the group's business continues to grow in a contrasted context of economic growth in Europe."

Lars Machenil, the chief financial officer of the bank, told CNBC that "the quarter has seen good business development."

"Our loans are up 4 percent, 4.2 percent actually and also the bottom line is up 4 percent clocking in at 2.1 billion euros and this basically in an environment where also our common equity tier one has been further strengthened by 25 basis points," he told CNBC's Joumanna Bercetche.

"This reflects, a bit, this lack luster environment in some activities but it also shows that the bank is really optimizing its resources," he added.

The logo of BNP Paribas SA sits outside a branch of the bank in Paris, France.
Balint Porneczi | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The logo of BNP Paribas SA sits outside a branch of the bank in Paris, France.

The French bank has been investing in digitization as part of its 2020 transformation plan. The latest results statement says that the move has allowed the bank to save 173 million euros in costs.

Machenil also told CNBC that the bank does not have "major exposure" to Italy. Recent market turmoil over Italy's spending plans have increased the yields on Italian debt — a problem for some lenders that own significant paper from the embattled government.

"Let's be fair, the market share we have, you can count it on the fingers of one hand," he said, adding that the bank is also focused on companies that are internationally exposed.

Shares fell more than 3 percent shortly after markets opened in Europe. Investors were disappointed with the lower-than-expected revenue figure, Reuters reported.

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Correction: This story has been updated with net income numbers that were earlier reported in millions. The correct numbers are 1.97 billion euros and 2.1 billion euros.