French bank Societe Generale has unveiled surprisingly poor results. It slumped to a first quarter net loss of 278 million euros.
That compares with a profit of 1.1 billion euros in the same period a year ago. CEO Frederic Oudea, who has just been given the additional role of chairman, blamed higher-than-expected writedowns of assets at its investment banking unit as a result of the credit crunch. SocGen added it could not rule out further writedowns in the future and said the economic outlook remained uncertain. SocGen’s loss was in stark contrast to BNP Paribas, France’s biggest bank in terms of the value of its shares, which this week reported better-than-expected first-quarter profits.