PARIS French bank Credit Agricole reported a near fourfold increase in first-quarter profit, as it moved on from a complex revamp of shareholding ties with its parent group and benefited from a surge in trading activity.
Credit Agricole, whose asset management arm Amundi is buying rival Pioneer Investments from Unicredit for 3.6 billion euros (3 billion pounds), said net income rose to 845 million euros from 227 million last year, when results were hit by restructuring costs.
Its revenue rose 24 percent to 4.7 billion euros, driven by a bumper quarter for capital market activities that rose 17 percent and a rebound in French retail banking.
Credit Agricole's retail bank LCL also had an 8 percent rise in revenue, driven by high volumes of loan restructuring fees and stronger loan growth.
"Globally, we should be able to have for the whole year revenue (at LCL) that would be more or less stable," chief financial officer Jerome Grivet told journalists.
The bank said that the group's stronger revenue growth reflected "an improvement in economic activity in the group's core European markets, but above all, the robustness of the universal customer-focused banking model.
Credit Agricole's higher profits echoed a similar performance at other rival French banks this quarter, with BNP Paribas and Natixis posting higher earnings, although legal costs contributed to SocGen reporting lower profits.
(Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva and Julien Ponthus; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)