Crédit Agricole hit by €600m Greek debt loss

FRANCE’S third-biggest listed bank, Crédit Agricole, said yesterday that third-quarter net profit slumped by 65 per cent on the back of Greek sovereign debt losses.

The bank, which is majority-owned by a group of regional banking cooperatives, said it booked a €637m (£545m) charge after writing down its Greek holdings by 60 per cent, in line with rivals Société Générale and BNP Paribas.

Earnings were also hit by losses at Crédit Agricole’s local Greek subsidiary Emporiki, which is not expected to return to profit until 2013-2014.

Crédit Agricole is overhauling itself under new management after an ill-fated drive to grow trading and investment-banking activities was cut short by the 2008 financial crisis.

Its investment bank has shuttered risky activities and is being shrunk further as the bank returns to its retail banking roots.

Third-quarter net profit fell to €258m from €742m a year earlier. This was below analyst forecasts for €605m in a Reuters poll. Revenue rose 6.2 per cent to €5.3bn, compared with the poll average of €4.96bn.