BNP Paribas books 45pc rise in profit

INVESTMENT banking and acquisitions helped France&rsquo;s BNP Paribas to beat forecasts with higher third-quarter profits, but it was silent about whether it may buy parts of ailing British banks.<br /><br />Assets bought by BNP?from Fortis boosted the eurozone&rsquo;s second-largest bank after Spain&rsquo;s Santander, as well as taking investment banking and wealth management market share from rivals such as UBS.<br /><br />BNP&rsquo;s net profit rose 45 per cent from a year ago to &euro;1.3bn (&pound;1.16bn).<br /><br />&ldquo;BNP Paribas is becoming a cash machine,&rdquo; said JP Morgan analyst Kian Abouhossein.<br /><br />BNP Paribas chief executive Baudouin Prot declined to comment on whether it may buy UK?retail banking assets as Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland look to shed branches due to EU conditions for receiving state aid.<br /><br />BNP is among banks, such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Barclays and Deutsche Bank, taking advantage of banking chaos in the past two years.<br /><br />The crisis has led rivals to retreat and others such as ING, RBS and Lloyds to take billions of euros in state help and face break-ups.<br /><br />Banks exposed to retail banking and lending to mid-sized companies are suffering from growing bad debts. Investment banking has stayed strong after a rebound in the first half of the year. <br /><br />Although many investment banks have not received direct state aid, they have benefited from regulatory changes to rescue the financial system. The rules have allowed them to delay booking losses on toxic assets, given them easier access to central bank funding, and eased the rules on collateral.