By Pietro Lombardi 

BNP Paribas SA said Friday that heavy client activity boosted the performance of its markets operations, which helped absorb a sharp increase in provisions against potential losses from borrowers also seen at many peers.

The investment bank arm of France's largest-listed bank by assets enjoyed a strong second quarter, mirroring a trend seen at several U.S. and European competitors. This helped BNP's net profit fall less than analysts had expected.

The lender set aside 1.45 billion euros ($1.72 billion) in the quarter to cover credit losses as it prepares for the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In the same quarter last year, provisions were EUR621 million. The second-quarter provisions add to the EUR1.43 billion it stowed away in the first quarter.

Despite the soaring provisioning, net profit for the period fell just 6.8% to EUR2.30 billion, well above the EUR1.52 billion analysts had forecast, according to a consensus provided by FactSet.

At EUR11.68 billion, a 4% increase on year, quarterly revenue also beat expectations, fueled by a 33% increase at its investment bank division.

Global markets revenue jumped almost 64% thanks to "an exceptional performance" of its fixed-income operations, the revenue of which more-than doubled to EUR2.01 billion from the EUR793 million it had a year earlier. Equities revenue, which collapsed in the first quarter, fell 53%.

BNP's core Tier 1 capital ratio--a key measure of capital strength--was 12.4% in June, up from 12% in March.


Write to Pietro Lombardi at; @pietrolombard10


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 31, 2020 01:23 ET (05:23 GMT)

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