SocGen's shares drop as lender cuts Russian exposure
SocGen's shares drop as lender cuts Russian exposureReuters

French bank Societe Generale's stock dropped in opening trade on 12 February after it reported a nearly three-fold increase in fourth-quarter net profit and a large writedown on the value of its Russian unit.

SocGen's stock pared losses and was trading 1.1% lower at 09:46 CET in Paris, after opening 2.85% lower.

SocGen, on Thursday, said its fourth-quarter net profit stood at €511m ($578.9m, £379.8m), up from €191m a year ago.

For the full-year 2014, net profit jumped 31.7% to €2.69bn, while revenues rose 5% to €23.56bn.

However, the bank took a €525m writedown on the value of Rosbank, its Russian unit, and said it slashed loans to its Russian activities by €600m in 2014, as the country's economy continues to struggle.

SocGen also took a €200m hit to exit consumer finance operations in Brazil.

The bank proposed a 2014 dividend of €1.2 per share, up from €1 apiece the preceding year.

Chairman and CEO Frédéric Oudéa said in a statement: "In 2014...in a challenging and unstable environment, the Group posted a good business performance, confirming the businesses' growth potential. The Group also demonstrated good control of costs and risks, which were substantially lower.

"In 2015, and given its very solid balance sheet, the Group intends to pursue its 2016 strategic plan in a determined and disciplined manner...Despite an environment that remains uncertain and volatile, the Group is therefore embarking on this new financial year with confidence."

Talks between leaders of France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia resumed in Minsk on Thursday, after a long 12-hour night marathon, despite reports claiming that a peace deal was agreed upon in the Belarus capital.