* No interest in buying stake in Commerzbank
* To invest in diversified growth in Germany
* Digital Hello bank targets 400,000 new customers by 2017
(Adds CEO quotes, details on plans)
FRANKFURT, Oct 2 BNP Paribas SA has
ruled out big takeovers like Commerzbank as it builds
its presence in specialised banking businesses in Germany over
the next three years, the French lender's chief executive said
BNP Paribas aims to boost its revenues in Germany by around
one third to 1.5 billion euros ($2 billion) by 2016.
"Commerzbank is not on the agenda and that's it,"
Jean-Laurent Bonnafe told journalists at a media briefing when
asked about buying either a stake or all of state-backed
BNP Paribas, Italy's UniCredit and Switzerland's
UBS have been mentioned as potential bidders for the
17 percent stake the German government holds in the country's
second-biggest lender, possibly as a prelude to a full takeover.
UniCredit and UBS have also said they are not interested.
Bonnafe said even bolt-on acquisitions, like recent
purchases of Commerzbank's depositary business and HVB's real
estate fund unit iii-investments, would remain the exception.
"We are going to grow organically," said Bonnafe as he gave
details of plans to gain more of the market in Europe's biggest
economy, first unveiled in July.
BNP Paribas' diversified German operations are profitable,
Bonnafe said, though he declined to give details.
He saw little point in focusing on plain vanilla lending to
German corporate clients that in any case were cash-rich, but
would concentrate on supplying global products, debt capital
market services and trade financing.
BNP Paribas also hopes the European launch of its mobile and
online bank, Hello bank, will give an extra thrust to its retail
banking operations, where BNP Paribas generated nearly two
thirds of its revenue in the first half of this year.
Hello bank in Germany will help transform BNP's brokerage
operation Cortal Consors into a digital bank, with a goal of
adding 400,000 new clients in Germany by 2017, bringing the
total to 1.1 million, Bonnafe said.
The bank added about 80,000 new clients in the last six
months, BNP said. It sees Commerzbank's Comdirect and
ING's Diba bank as its main competitors in Germany.
Bonnafe expected merger activity among banks in Europe to
pick up in three to four years' time, once the banking union was
formed and lenders had more clarity over balance sheet risks.
"It will take time, but we see some kind of consolidation,"
he said. Bonnafe declined to comment on earnings developments in
the third quarter, ahead of results due on Oct. 31.
($1 = 0.7393 euros)
(Reporting by Jonathan Gould and Kathrin Jones; Editing by
Harro ten Wolde and Patrick Lannin)