SocGen Q1 net income up fivefold on lower Russian hit

French bank Societe Generale reported a fivefold increase in its first quarter net income thanks to investment banking gains and a smaller hit from its struggling Russian unit. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
French bank Societe Generale reported a fivefold increase in its first quarter net income thanks to investment banking gains and a smaller hit from its struggling Russian unit. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (Reuters) - French bank Societe Generale reported a fivefold increase in its first quarter net income thanks to investment banking gains and a smaller hit from its struggling Russian unit.

The bank posted net income of 868 million euros (S$1.29 billion) for the first three months, up from 169 million in the same period of last year, when the company took a 525 million euro writedown on its Russian business.

The bank suffered a fresh 91 million euro loss in the reporting quarter on its Russian business as loan demand dropped in the country in the grips of a deep recession triggered by Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis and lower oil prices.

Net banking income rose 12.3 per cent to 6.353 billion euros with growth from corporate and investment banking up 21.8 percent, boosted by the weak euro and the full integration of its Newedge brokerage after buying last year the 50 percent it did not already own.

Revenues from equities trading jumped 32.5 per cent as many markets reached record highs in the quarter, while growth in fixed income, foreign exchange and commodities trading offset weaker demand for structured products.