BNP Paribas Fourth-Quarter Profit Beats Estimates

BNP Paribas SA (BNP), France’s largest bank, reported fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates and said its corporate- and investment-banking unit had a “good start” to the year.

The shares gained after net income dropped less than expected to 765 million euros ($1 billion) from 1.55 billion euros a year earlier. The average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for earnings of 587 million euros.

The bank withstood a “quite difficult” period for financial markets, Chief Executive Officer Jean-Laurent Bonnafe, 50, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television today. “Progressively the situation throughout the euro zone should stabilize.”

Bonnafe, who took over in December after overseeing the purchase of Fortis assets, inherited a bank hurt last year from losses on Greek sovereign bonds. French lenders have been embroiled in Europe’s crisis because of their $620 billion in holdings of private and public debt in Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain, according to figures from the Bank for International Settlements.

BNP Paribas rose as much as 2.38 euros, or 7.1 percent, to 35.89 euros, the most in almost a month, and were at 34.94 euros at 9:20 a.m. in Paris trading.

The shares have gained 15 percent this year, giving the lender a market value of 42.2 billion euros. European financial stocks are rebounding after the European Central Bank provided 489 billion euros to lenders through a three-year refinancing operation in December and plans to offer a further series of loans at the end of February.

Source: Bloomberg