Lyonnais provisions delay urged

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PARIS (Reuter) - The French government is urging Credit Lyonnais to delay bad debt provisions so that its first-half loss will not be as high as the Fr2bn-Fr4bn ( pounds 246m- pounds 493m) expected, according to reports in the French press.

The state-owned bank declined to comment on a report of a row over provisions in the business daily La Tribune Desfosses.

A bank source said Jean Peyrelevade, the chairman, had already said Credit Lyonnais would suffer a loss in the first half of this year.

The spokeswoman said the aim was to break even in the second half and return to profits in 1995.

La Tribune said that, at a recent board meeting, Mr Peyrelevade indicated that the bank's first-half loss would be between Fr2bn and Fr4bn, which caused the state shareholder deep concern.

In March Credit Lyonnais unveiled a loss of Fr6.9bn for 1993. The government pledged pledging a capital injection of Fr4.9bn and a guarantee on losses of up to Fr18.4bn on bad property loans.

It also emerged that a parliamentary inquiry, expected to report next week, will accuse the former Credit Lyonnais chairman, Jean-Yves Haberer, of running a 'quasi-monarchic' regime.