French bank Société Générale reported a 20 per cent jump in net income in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Full year results published today (11 February) revealed the group’s net income reached €656m (£510m) in the final quarter of last year, against €549m in the same period in 2014.
Group net income reached €4bn in 2015, which is substantially higher than 2014’s figure of €2.7bn (£2.1bn).
Figures for 2015 were impacted by the €147m (£115m) gain on the disposal of the group’s stake in Amundi.
Net banking income, however, was down 0.8 per cent to €6bn (£4.7bn), which the group said was down to a “restrictive environment”.
Despite increased regulatory costs, the group’s gross operating income amounted to €8.7bn (£6.8bn) in 2015, against €7.5bn (£5.9bn) in 2014.
Frédéric Oudéa, Société Générale chief executive, said the positive figures for 2015 indicate that the group has “successfully completed” another stage in its transformation process.
He said: “2015 was marked by good operating performances in all the businesses and the strengthening of synergies between the businesses. Thanks to the trust shown by our customers and the commitment of our employees, the group benefited from a strong commercial momentum.”
At end-2015, the bank’s operating expenses increased slightly faster than expected, rising 2 per cent against the predicted 1 per cent, which Mr Oudéa claimed was due to the sharp rise in fiscal and regulatory pressures, legal costs, and investments in the group’s transformation.
“Revenue growth was buoyant, while maintaining rigorous management of risks and costs,” he said. “The Group also continued to optimise its capital and invested in the acceleration of its digital transformation.”
He also said the good operating performance optimised capital management, meaning the group can pay its shareholders a substantially higher dividend.
The board has proposed a dividend of €2 (£1.60) for 2015, compared to €1.20 (94p) in 2014. The dividend will be detached on 25 May and paid on 27 May.
Mr Oudéa added: “In the unstable environment expected in 2016, the Société Générale group, supported by a successful business model, will determinedly pursue its transformation plan in order to continue to provide its customers with added value and create value for its shareholders.”