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Credit Agricole Gets House in Order, Restores Dividend

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Credit Agricole Group on Tuesday reported "returning to significant positive results" for the fourth quarter and for all of 2013, and also announced plans to restore its dividend.

The bank, headquartered in Montrouge, France, reported a consolidated fourth-quarter net income Group share -- that is, net income excluding earnings available to non-controlling interests -- of 1.293 billion euros, compared to a net loss of 3.269 billion euro during the fourth quarter of 2012. The company said the fourth-quarter results couldn't be compared with the fourth-quarter of 2012, which included charges related to Credit Agricole's disposal of its business in Greece, "as well as significant impairments of goodwill and investments."

The company reported a 2013 net income group share of 5.136 billion euros, swinging to a significant profit, following losses totaling 3.808 billion euros during 2012.

Fourth-quarter revenue rose 11.7% from a year earlier to 7.959 billion euros, while expenses declined by 2.4%, to 5.101 billion euros. Gross operating income was up 50.3% year-over-year, to 2.858 billion euros during the fourth quarter.

Credit Agricole also said that for the consolidated Group, including Credit Agricole SA and regional banks, the estimated "fully loaded" Basel III Tier 1 common equity ratio was 11.2% as of Dec. 31, "above the regulatory requirements even after integrating the capital buffer required of a global systemically important bank (1.5%)." The company's Basel 2.5 Tier 1 ratio was 12.5% as of Dec. 31, increasing from 11.3% at the end of 2012.

The company also said its board of directors would recommend a dividend of 0.35 euros per share at Credit Agricole's annual meeting on May 21. The company will also unveil its new intermediate-term plan to investors on March 20.

Shares of Credit Agricole SA were up 2.5% to 11.06 euro in late trading on the Euronext Paris exchange.

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Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.

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