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Societe Generale reports surprise €278m quarterly net loss

Latest update : 2009-05-07

Scandal-ridden French bank Societe Generale has reported a net loss of 278 million euros in the first quarter, roughly the amount analysts had expected - albeit in net profit.

AFP - French banking giant Societe Generale said Thursday it suffered a surprise net loss of 278 million euros (370 million dollars) in the first quarter owing to writedowns and increased risk costs.

The loss was the reverse of forecasts from analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires who had expected a profit of 381 million euros. In the first quarter of 2008, Societe Generale made a net profit of 1.096 billion euros.

Unlike many other Western banks, Societe Generale remained in profit in the fourth quarter of last year, bringing in 87 million euros, but the scandal-ridden lender has since sought assistance from the French government.

Societe Generale shocked the financial world in January 2008 when it announced losses of 4.9 billion euros (6.5 billion dollars) that it blamed on unauthorized deals made by 31-year-old trader Jerome Kerviel.

Thursday's surprise loss came a day after Societe Generale's board named a new chief executive, Frederic Oudea, after its previous boss resigned and said it would seek further government assistance to raise 1.7 billion euros.

"We will return these sums as soon as possible but the normalisation of the markets is not there yet. It's not a reality," Oudea said on Wednesday.

"The quarter was difficult and the context remains uncertain," he added.

Date created : 2009-05-07