SocGen First-Quarter Profit Halved, Eyes New Cost Savings

Societe Generale
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Societe Generale, France's No. 2 listed bank, reported a 50 percent slump in quarterly profit on Tuesday on the back of a weakening domestic economy and one-off charges, and said it had begun a cost-cutting drive.

SocGen posted first-quarter net income of 364 million euros ($475 million), compared with 732 million for the same period a year ago. This was below the 674.6 million euro average of analyst estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The deputy chief executive of Société Générale defended the group's earnings, saying that it had been operating in a very "challenging environment."

"Our global revenue from businesses are stable, overall, despite a very challenging environment in Europe," Severin Cabannes told CNBC on Monday.

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The bank also announced a cost cutting plan that it said would help it achieve a new return-on-equity target of 10 percent by end-2015.

"We have decided to launch a global cost-saving plan of 1.45 billion euros over 2012 to 2015, of which 550 million euros has already been achieved last year," Cabannes told CNBC on Monday.

He said savings would be achieved by streamlining the group's retail banking division in France and worldwide and its corporate investment banking arm.