BNP Paribas posted better-than-expected revenue and net profit for the first quarter, boosted by higher trading income after an attempt to build up its investment bank.
France’s largest listed bank backed its financial goals to 2025, despite stalled economic growth in its home market and fallout in the eurozone from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Its targets include annual revenue growth of more than 3.5 percent and a drive to return 60 percent of profits to shareholders.
Revenue increased 11.7 percent in the first quarter year on year to 13.2 billion euros, while net income reached 2.1 billion euros, up 19.2 percent, exceeding analyst expectations.
The bank has benefited from the lower cost of risk, with fees on bad loans falling sharply after a period dominated by the Corona virus pandemic, and also issued some provisions linked to the West Bank, which it sells.
Like US competitors, BNP Paribas noted that deal closings were quiet in the first three months of the year, and companies issued fewer debt and equity to fund acquisitions. But the bank’s stock-trading and fixed-income returns rose sharply, with its stock-trading earnings up nearly 61 percent.
The group has consolidated its flagship services business, which it acquired from Deutsche Bank, a unit that serves hedge funds, and brought its entire equity brokerage in Exane inland, as part of a broader push to gain an advantage over competitors who are retrenching or restructuring their banking units.
BNP Paribas expanded lending across the eurozone at the height of the coronavirus pandemic and is seeking to build on that.