Earnings

BNP Paribas posts profit beat for third quarter and maintains guidance for the year

Key Points
  • The French bank reported 1.89 billion euros ($2.20 billion) in net income for the third quarter of 2020.
  • This after analysts had forecast a figure of 1.6 billion euros, according to Refinitiv.
  • The lender also said it has 472 billion euros available in liquidity reserves.
People walk past BNP Paribas, a french international banking group.
ANGELA WEISS | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON — BNP Paribas beat market expectations on Tuesday on the back of a solid performance in its investment banking unit.

The French bank reported 1.89 billion euros ($2.20 billion) in net income for the third quarter of 2020, after analysts had forecast a figure of 1.6 billion euros, according to Refinitiv. The lender also said it has 472 billion euros available in liquidity reserves.

Other highlights of the quarter:

  • Revenues dropped marginally (0.1%) from a year ago, reaching 10.88 billion euros.
  • CET 1 ratio (a measure of bank solvency) rose to 12.6%, vs. 12% a year ago.
  • Operating expenses fell 3.8% from a year ago.

Lars Machenil, the chief financial officer of BNP Paribas, told CNBC's Charlotte Reed that the results were a "tribute" to the diversification of the business.

"The revenues are basically back to the level of a year ago. Secondly, if you look at the costs, they (are) going down, fully in line with our aim to reduce the cost by more than a billion (euros) this year," Machenil said, while adding that looking at the year-to-date performance, the bank is "ahead" in its original outlook for the full year.

BNP Paribas reported revenue growth in all its three divisions, but CIB (Corporate and Institutional Banking) experienced the highest increase by 17% year-on-year. Though on a quarterly basis, the same unit saw revenues fall by 18.2%.

"What we see is that in the first half of the year, there was a demand which was well above what you would normally have. And basically, the levels tapered a bit off, but are still representing a very solid demand," Machenil said.

Fixed Income, Commodities and Currencies (FICC) contributed with a 34.6% jump in revenues from a year ago on the back of a "sharp rise in credit," a "rebound in forex and emerging markets and a good performance of rates."

On the other hand, the Equity and Prime Services' unit saw a 15.1% fall in revenues due to a "lackluster market."

Second lockdown

The results come at a time when governments across Europe step up social restrictions as they grapple with a second wave of coronavirus infections. However, BNP Paribas played down the impact of further restrictions, arguing that the second lockdowns are slightly different from those imposed back in March.

"The lockdowns are of a different nature than what we saw in the past. So that's why we feel comfortable to reiterate our guidance for the full year," Machenil said.

At the end of the second quarter, the French lender had suggested that its bottom line should drop between 15% and 20% by the end of the year due to the coronavirus crisis.

BNP Paribas shares are down about 42% since the start of the year.