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BNP Paribas profit falls


BNP Paribas profit falls


BNP Paribas has pledged to keep cutting costs and staff in response to reduced earnings from the flagging European economy.

France’s biggest bank, which does most of its business in the recession-hit eurozone, just reported a 45 percent drop in first-quarter net income – to 1.58 billion euros.

That was not as bad as analysts feared, thanks to improved cost control and fewer bad loans.

BNP is focusing on growing outside the eurozone and will launch an online European bank to try to compensate for slowing growth at its retail branches.

The bank also said it had begun offering “early-retirement” plans for staff at its Belgian and Italian subsidiaries, without giving more details.

BNP Chief Executive Jean-Laurent Bonnafe praised the European Central Bank’s decision on Thursday to cut interest rates, saying it would spur growth without being a cure-all.

“(The rate cut) is a positive sign. It will not be an answer to all issues but it will be a good help to the economy,” he said.

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