BNP Paribas net profit up 10%, but investment bank takes hit

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BNP Paribas reported a 10 percent rise in net profit in the first quarter but its investment banking division took a hit from a volatile market environment.

Net income came in at 1.814 billion euros ($2.09 billion), up 10 percent from the same quarter in the previous year and above a forecast of 1.664 billion euros.Underlying net profit accounting for one-off items came in at 1.607 billion, up 4 percent year-on-year.

The bank said that revenues held up well in domestic and international markets and financial services amid, it said in its earnings release, a "particularly unfavorable environment this quarter."

Chief Financial Officer Lars Machenil told CNBC that the results were satisfactory but that the Corporate and Institutional Banking (CIB) division – the bank's investment banking arm – was impacted by volatile market conditions in the first quarter.

"If we just take a step back indeed for the bank as a whole we had a good set of results and particularly domestic markets and international financial services had its revenues held up well and all that cost control, low cost of risks, significantly down actually, led to 1.8 billion euros of results," he told CNBC on Monday ahead of the earnings report release.

"But it is true that the first quarter, and particularly the start of it, was impacted by a particularly unfavorable market environment, which for us impacted our CIB which had a drop in revenue of 15 percent if you exclude FVA (funding valuation adjustment)."

He said the bank saw saw lower client flows in global markets due to concerns about growth in the wider economy but also there were "uncertainties" surrounding the regulatory treatment of some subordinated debt monetary policy.

"So this was what we saw in the first couple of months and which weighed a bit on the revenues if you look towards the end of the quarter, you saw a pickup towards a more normal kind of activities."

In the fourth quarter, BNP reported that a 51.7 percent drop in net profit from the same quarter in the previous year, to 665 million euros. The group recorded one-off transformation and restructuring costs related to acquisitions, as well as a 69 million euro contribution to a dedicated fund for the resolution of four Italian banks.

It also reiterated that it wants to achieve 1 billion euros in cost savings by 2019 and reduce risk-weighted assets by 20 billion euros. BNP said it needed to transform itself to cope with "restraints" such as European capital ratio requirements and banking regulations.

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