French investment bank Natixis reported a milder-than-expected 32 per cent decline in quarterly profits on Thursday as it became the latest lender to grapple with weak capital markets and wrote down more of its Greek sovereign debt exposure.
Fourth-quarter group net income fell to 302 million euros ($400 million), beating the average analyst estimate of 247 million. Revenue, which edged 1 per cent lower to 1.73 billion euros, also exceeded analysts’ average forecast of 1.51 billion.
France’s fourth-largest listed bank is cutting debt and scaling back lending to ride out a crunch on funding that has pushed larger domestic rivals BNP Paribas and Societe Generale to take similar steps.
Natixis was rescued from near-collapse during the 2008 financial crisis by a government-backed merger of its retail cooperative parents.
The bank said its core Tier 1 ratio stood at 10.2 per cent as of the end of the year and reiterated that it expects to meet the 9 per cent Tier 1 ratio target under stricter Basel 3 rules by the beginning of 2013.
The bank, which like its larger rivals is scrambling to scale back its balance sheet, sold 1.6 billion euros in investment banking assets in the quarter as well as 2 billion from a portfolio of toxic assets.