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Credit Agricole's profit slumps 92.6% as one-offs weigh

  • "We are a highly provisioned group. This has been part of the group's culture for a very long time," Credit Agricole SA Chief Executive Officer Philippe Brassac told reporters.
Published February 11, 2021
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PARIS: Credit Agricole SA on Thursday posted a 92.6% drop in fourth-quarter profit as France's second-biggest listed bank took a one-off hit of 851 million euros ($1.03 billion), including a goodwill impairment on its Italian unit.

Several European banks, including Spain's Santander , booked large one-off losses during 2020 by writing down the value of not-so-lucrative past acquisitions, taking hits to their bottom line in a year when they were banned from paying dividends.

Credit Agricole said excluding one-offs, underlying net income was down 26% at 975 million euros after it set aside higher provisions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bank's cost of risk, which reflects bad loan charges, rose by 58.5% year-on-year to 538 million euros. It did not provide guidance for 2021 provisions.

With the pandemic bearing down, lenders globally set aside funds to deal with loans that could turn sour, but Credit Agricole's French competitors BNP Paribas and Societe Generale have both said bad loan charges would decrease this year as economies gradually recover from the worst of the crisis.

"We are a highly provisioned group. This has been part of the group's culture for a very long time," Credit Agricole SA Chief Executive Officer Philippe Brassac told reporters.

For the year, Credit Agricole said it planned to pay a 0.80 euros dividend per share with a scrip dividend payment option, in line with the European Central Bank's December recommendations to preserve capital during the pandemic.

The bank, which offered in November to buy third-tier Italian lender Creval for 737 million euros, reiterated it would not change the price.

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