French banking group BNP Paribas’ shares hit a record high after it reported a better-than-expected 25% rise in first-quarter net profit at 2.51 billion euros. Revenues increased by over 20% to 8.2 billion. That was due to higher corporate and investment bank earnings and gains from sales of assets. The figures also reflect a smooth integration of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, the Italian bank it bought last year.
The one black spot was a 20% drop in pretax profit at the group’s US unit BancWest, though that was partly due to the weakness of the dollar against the euro.
At the same time it released the figures, BNP Paribas said it is not interested in buying ABN Amro of the Netherlands or ABN’s Chicago-based LaSalle Bank. Nor would it consider a tie-up with its French rival Societe Generale, saying that carries “considerable execution risk.”