Greek losses dent Credit Agricole profit

City A.M. Reporter
CREDIT Agricole, reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter profit yesterday, with earnings hit by losses in Greece, although France’s biggest retail bank said it had made a good start to 2010.

“Initial trends in 2010 confirm that all of the group’s businesses are performing well,” Agricole said.
Agricole’s net profit rose to €433m (£383.8m), compared to a loss of €309m a year earlier.

It was higher than the bank’s third quarter profit of €289m.

However, the earnings were below an average net profit forecast by analysts of €476m.

Agricole’s earnings were dented by losses at its Greek bank Emporiki. Emporiki and other Greek banks have been impacted by the country’s economic woes, as the Greek government tries to tackle its fiscal deficit.

Emporiki made a 2009 loss of €583m and also said it would proceed with a €989m rights issue in March to boost its share capital.

Analysts said along with its Greek losses, Agricole faces concerns that the new rules by the Basel committee on banks’ capital requirements could impact the company.

However, Agricole said it had no plans to sell its Greek division and that it had no major worries over the new Basel rules. Agricole had a tier one ratio of 9.5 per cent at the end of 2009.