France’s BNP profit hit by virus crisis

PARIS (AFP) – Top French banking group BNP Paribas yesterday reported annual profits slumped 13.5 per cent as economic turbulence caused by the pandemic hit the sector globally.

But the net profit of EUR7.07 billion (USD8.46 billion) for 2020 was more than anticipated by the group, which had expected a drop of 15 to 20 per cent.

Net banking income – a broad measure of profit – of EUR44.28 billion, was off 0.7 per cent from 2019, the group said in a statement.

Besides the battering of the global economy by the coronavirus crisis, BNP suffered from the appreciation of the euro against other major currencies.

At constant exchange rates, net banking income grew by 1.3 per cent.

“The world is now experiencing a health crisis that is unprecedented in its extent and duration. It has tested us, as it has tested all components of our societies,” BNP head Jean-Laurent Bonnafe said in the statement.

“BNP Paribas has been highly resilient, thanks to its diversified and integrated model, its financial solidity, its digital and industrial transformation, and its platforms’ execution capabilities.”

“On the strength of these advantages, we are well positioned to enter a new phase in the development of our activities.”