International operations lift BNP Paribas results

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BNP Paribas, France's biggest bank, saw third-quarter net profit rise 11 percent as gains in fixed income and international retail operations offset the euro zone's struggling economy.

The quarterly results mark a return to net profit after the previous quarter, when the bank posted its first net loss since the 2008 financial crisis due to a $8.9 billion fine from U.S. authorities for breaking sanctions against Sudan, Cuba and Iran over a 10-year period up to 2012.

Third-quarter net profit rose to 1.5 billion euros ($1.9 billion), compared with 1.36 billion euros a year earlier, against expectations of 1.576 billion. Revenue rose 3.9 percent to 9.54 billion euros from 9.18 billion in the third quarter of 2013.

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Along with the other leading French banks, BNP Paribas fared well in the European Central Bank's (ECB) stress tests, the results of which were released last weekend.

In the adverse conditions scenario, the bank had a core tier one capital ratio of 8.07 percent, well above the ECB limit of 5.5 percent. In the asset quality review, it's core tier one capital ratio was 10.53 percent, beating the 8 percent threshold set by the ECB.

Lars Machenil, chief financial officer at BNP Paribas said the tests were "just what the doctor ordered".

"I've been working on it for a year, provided 370 million data points, allowing the ECB to review more than 50 percent of the balance sheet," he said. "So I think it is really a thorough exercise, unshackling all the things that weighed over European banks."

"For BNP Paribas we've passed it successfully. I think it's a tribute to the balance sheet, to the asset quality, to the stringent risk management of all the people at BNP Paribas."

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In July, BNP Paribas pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions, in a nearly-$9-billion settlement in which the French bank admitted to breaking embargoes against Sudan, Cuba and Iran.

U.S. prosecutors had accused the bank of processing billions of dollars through the U.S. financial system on behalf of the Sudanese and others barred because of human rights abuses, support for terrorists and other national security concerns.

Reuters contributed to this report

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