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Société Générale said it expected the war in Ukraine to lead to a rise in costs as more customers defaulted on loans and it exited the Russian market.
The French bank also reported a 3.4 per cent rise in net income to €842mn for the first quarter on Thursday, compared to a year earlier, and a 16.6 per cent increase in revenues as it benefited from market volatility and higher interest rates.
“The planned disposal, currently being finalised, of our activities in Russia, following the abrupt change in this country’s outlook, will enable the group to withdraw in an effective and orderly manner, ensuring continuity for both its employees and its customers,” said chief executive Frederic Oudea.
SocGen increased its cost of risk for the year to between 30 and 35 basis points, or up to €1.9bn, having previously disclosed it would be below 30 basis points.
France’s third-biggest bank said its common equity tier 1 ratio — an important measure of its financial strength — would dip 20 basis points from 12.9 per cent as a result of its planned Russian disposal.
SocGen announced last month that it was selling its entire 99.98 per cent stake in Rosbank, as well as its Russian insurance operations, to an investment company founded by Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin.
The French bank said it would take a €3.1bn hit after the sale to Potanin’s Interros Capital after coming under scrutiny over its large exposure to the country following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
SocGen was one of the three western financial institutions with the biggest exposure to Russia, alongside Austria’s Raiffeisen and UniCredit of Italy. The other two have announced they are considering exit strategies.