French multinational bank BNP Paribas profit increased 22 percent to €1.92 billion in the first quarter of 2019, the bank said in a statement. Revenue increased 3.2 percent to €11.14 billion year on year in Q1.
France’s largest bank also said it is planning to save an extra €500 million in costs this year by paring staff and bank branches.
Stronger client activity in its corporate and institutional banking practices boosted the first quarter profit, BNP Paribas said. BNP Paribas profit was also boosted by the sale of its 14.3 percent stake in SBI Life Insurance – the French bank’s joint venture with the State Bank of India (SBI).
The French bank’s CFO Lars Machenil told CNBC that the bank’s focus was on digitisation and not acquisitions. He also added that the drop in the bank’s Common Equity Tier (CET) 1 ration was due to new accounting rules. The CET 1 ratio dropped 10 basis points to 11.7 percent. Machenil also expects capital growth to gain traction throughout 2019.
Recent media reports have suggested that the BNP Paribas is interested in merging with Germany’s Commerzbank. Such a merger is also supposed to have the support of the German government, the German media had reported. The German government holds a 15 percent stake in Commerzbank, which it acquired as part of a bailout package in 2009.