Credit Agricole (CRARF) shares gained the most in four months in Paris after beating third quarter expectations by doubling profit on strong debt-trading revenues and after booking the sale of a stake in its network of regional lenders.
Shares in France's third biggest bank by market capitalization rose 5.23% Tuesday to change hands at €10.22, the highest since March, by 11:43 Paris time.
The lender said underlying net income rose to €1.86 billion ($2.05 billion) in the three months to the end of September, almost 10% above analyst consensus expectations collated by Reuters, and twice the €930 million posted in the same quarter last year. Underlying revenues rose 12% to €4.41 billion, while operating expenses fell 2%, the bank said.
Credit Agricole was boosted by "a strong showing in corporate investment banking (revenue progression +38% year-on-year) marking a better progression than French peers, but also a smaller contraction of revenues in France, as well as overall good cost containment" noted Goldman Sachs analysts.
Credit Agricole's large customer unit posted a 38% increase in revenues to €1.5 billion over the third quarter, boosted by a huge increase in trading volumes at its fixed income unit. That increase mirrored the results of French rivals BNP Paribas (BNPQY) and Societe Generale (SCGLY) as bond markets churned in the wake of Britain's vote to leave the European Union.
Credit Agricole said it core tier 1 ratio, a key measure of a bank's financial strength, rose to 12% by the end of September, up from 11.2% in June, boosted by a €1.25 billion gain from the sale of a 25% stake in its regional banks. Credit Agricole announced its plan to sell the stake back to the regional lenders in February to strengthen its capital base.
"There are no more questions on capital," CEO Philippe Brassac told reporters on a call. "The environment remains difficult" for the French consumer banking unit, but "we remain very confident."
Credit Agricole said it expected to pay a €0.60 per share dividend for 2016 and confirmed its 50% payout ratio going forward, allaying fears it could cut its dividend from next year.
"This marks an upgrade in the dividend policy," said Goldman Sachs. "We think the shares should react well."