Credit Agricole Profit Rises on Low Provisions, Strong Trading

Desy Papper

Credit Agricole SA’s profits jumped in the first quarter, as the bank joined European peers in posting a strong trading performance and lower-than-anticipated charges to cover potential loan losses. Net income rose 64% from a year ago to 1.05 billion euros ($1.27 billion), after Credit Agricole provided 384 million euros […]

Credit Agricole SA’s profits jumped in the first quarter, as the bank joined European peers in posting a strong trading performance and lower-than-anticipated charges to cover potential loan losses.

Net income rose 64% from a year ago to 1.05 billion euros ($1.27 billion), after Credit Agricole provided 384 million euros against the possibility of souring loans, below the 564.5 million euros estimated by analysts polled by Bloomberg.

The Paris-based lender’s capital markets and investment banking revenue rose 17% to 708 million euros, beating the highest analyst estimate. Credit Agricole’s asset gathering unit, which houses its asset and wealth management operations as well as its insurance business, saw revenues grow by a fifth to 1.58 billion euros, slightly above what analysts anticipated.

The results make Credit Agricole the latest beneficiary of a brightening pandemic outlook and busy markets, which have seen all the major European banks beat analyst expectations so far this earnings season.

Europe’s banks set aside billions of euros last year to brace for an expected wave of defaults as large swathes of the economy were shut down to stem the spread of Covid-19. But massive relief from governments and central banks has shielded companies from the impact so far and many now expect the ultimate level of defaults to be lower than previously feared.

Read more about European bank earnings

Under Chief Executive Officer Philippe Brassac, Credit Agricole has been betting on corporate banking and asset management to counter weak consumer margins, meaning the bank relies less than domestic peers on its trading business. Last year, the bank avoided the dividend-related equity trading hits that engulfed rivals like BNP Paribas SA and Societe Generale SA.

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