Business

BNP Paribas profit hit by Axa write-down

BNP Paribas branch
Image caption BNP is France's biggest listed bank

France's biggest bank, BNP Paribas, saw profits miss analysts' forecasts in the last three months of 2010, after it had to write down the value of one of its businesses.

It made 1.55bn euros (£1.3bn; $2.1bn) - up 13.6% on a year earlier. Revenues were up 2.6% to 10.3bn euros.

However it wrote off more than 500m euros on its stake in insurer Axa.

It blamed the one-off charge on "highly volatile" stock markets that had reduced the value of its holding.

But it added that shares in the insurer, like other French financial stocks, had rebounded strongly since the start of the year, on hopes the eurozone had turned a corner after jitters over sovereign debt levels.

The company said it expected losses on loans to fall "slightly" in 2011.

Chief executive Baudouin Prot said it was not looking to make any acquisitions in the near future.

"I'll be very blunt. At the moment, we are not very acquisitive. This year we will concentrate on organic growth."

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