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Credit Agricole SA benefited from record inflows at its asset-management unit and higher revenue at the investment bank in the fourth quarter, bolstering Chief Executive Officer Philippe Brassac after he unveiled his new targets.
The bank saw a more than 50% increase in capital markets and investment banking revenue in the period, helping revenue beat estimates. Net income of 1.66 billion euros also did better than expected.
Chief Executive Officer Philippe Brassac is betting on corporate banking and asset management for growth to offset the impact of low or negative interest rates and rising capital requirements. The bank in December wrote downthe value of its French retail banking division LCL by about 600 million euros ($668 million) to reflect the tougher environment the lender faces.
Credit Agricole is more diversified and less dependent than rivals BNP Paribas SA and Societe Generale SA on trading, and it has been able to turn to acquisitions to support growth. It is among the firms that have come up as potential buyers for HSBC Holdings Plc’s French retail operations, Bloomberg reported last month.
Its giant asset manager, Amundi SA, has grown into Europe’s largest firm with the help of acquisitions, making it a model for rivals seeking to consolidate. Amundi on Wednesday raised its dividend and reported record net inflows of 76.8 billion euros ($83.9 billion) in the fourth quarter after a new pension mandate in India.
Brassac has reorganized the bank’s structure and sold less-strategic holdings over the past years while seeking partnerships with other companies. The CEO in June pledged to boost net income by more than 600 million euros ($663 million) over three years and drive down costs, after meeting previous key targets ahead of schedule.
The lender affirmed those targets in December, when it announced the good charge at LCL. Credit Agricole merged with Credit Lyonnais in 2003 and the latter went on to focus on retail banking and adopted the LCL brand in 2005, according to the company’s website.
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