SocGen beats forecasts with €1.1bn profit

Société Généerale announced forecast-beating net profits of €1.1bn (£940m) for the first-quarter yesterday, helped by its investment banking division and fewer provisions on bad loans. The French banking giant said it anticipated a "sustainable rebound" this year and was "confident" that it could meet profits forecasts of €3bn for 2010.

SocGen, which met the French Finance Minister, Christine Lagarde, yesterday to discuss the role of banks in the eurozone's Greek rescue package, said that it had €3bn exposure to Greek sovereign debt. After the meeting Ms Lagarde said that French banks had agreed to keep their exposure to Greece but, unlike in Germany, were not asked to intervene directly in the rescue.

Greece's woes also pushed up provisions on bad loans at SocGen's international retail unit, with €149m in Greek provisions.

According to the Bank for International Settlements, Greek borrowers owed $236bn (£156bn) to overseas lenders at the end of 2009, with $75bn owed to creditors in France. Reuters