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PARIS, May 9 (Reuters) - First quarter net profits at French investment bank Natixis almost tripled after the bank booked a capital gain on assets sold to parent bank BPCE.
Natixis, France's fourth largest listed bank, said first quarter net profits rose to 764 million euros ($858 million) from 260 million a year earlier. The bank recorded a 586 million euro capital gain on the sale of retail activities to BPCE.
Analysts polled by Infront Data for Reuters had expected an average net profit of 701 million euros.
The bank said its asset management and corporate and investment banking arms reported lower pre-tax profits during the period as a result of an unfavorable market environment.
Natixis, which is controlled by French co-operative lender BPCE, has sold businesses related to retail banking such as consumer lending and factoring to its parent bank for 2.7 billion euros, in order to focus on investment banking, asset management and insurance.
Natixis also raised its target for cost-cutting by next year to 300 million euros from a previous target of 250 million.
($1 = 0.8906 euros) (Reporting by Inti Landauro and Matthieu Protard; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)