December 28, 2006 10:27 ET

CREDIT AGRICOLE SA : Q3 - 06 results

PARIS -- (MARKET WIRE) -- December 28, 2006 -- Crédit Agricole's board of directors, chaired by René Carron, met on 21 November 2006 to approve the results for the nine months to end-September 2006.

Over the first nine months of 2006, Crédit Agricole S.A. generated net income (Group share) of EUR 3,815 million, an increase of 32.2% compared with the same period in 2005. This excellent performance is based on a solid first half and good third-quarter performance.

During the third quarter, the main business lines - retail banks, retail- linked activities and corporate and investment banking - delivered strong earnings growth, confirming the trend of previous quarters, despite traditionally unfavourable seasonal effects and the slowing down observed of the French retail banking market. Overall, net banking income increased by 15%, with gross operating income up 18.8%, reflecting further improvement in the cost/income ratio, while risk-related costs remained stable (down 4%). Net income (Group share) came to EUR 1,146 million, an increase of 12.4%.

During this quarter, Crédit Agricole S.A. has taken major steps forward in the implementation of its development plan, principally by strengthening its international network. In particular, it transformed its minority interests in Greece and Italy into controlling stakes.

Over the period, the Group's main acquisitions entailed:

- an agreement with Fiat Auto to create a 50/50 joint venture managing assets of EUR 13 billion at end-2005 covering retail car financing, Fiat Auto dealer financing, long-term leasing and fleet management activities; the agreement, which could be finalised before the end of 2006, brings Crédit Agricole S.A.'s presence in consumer lending activities to 19 European countries;

- the successful cash takeover bid for Emporiki Bank of Greece S.A., the fourth-largest bank in Greece with market share of around 10%, of which the Crédit Agricole Group now owns 72%; this move has extended the Group's geographical coverage and given it access to a market with strong growth momentum;

- the agreement with Banca Intesa with a view to the acquisition of a 654 branch retail network in Italy, comprising mainly the branches of Cariparma and FriulAdria; this strong presence in northern Italy will enable Crédit Agricole S.A. to serve 1.4 million customers in the Italian peninsula.

After the board meeting, Chief Executive Officer Georges Pauget highlighted "the solid results for the third quarter and the excellent commercial dynamics of all business lines ".

He added "following the acquisitions carried out over the quarter, Crédit Agricole S.A. now has a presence in three key retail banking markets in Europe: France, Italy and Greece".

Chairman René Carron commented: "Crédit Agricole S.A.'s excellent performance since the start of the year, in parallel with the rapid implementation of its business development plan, confirms the Group's strong growth potential".

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