* BNP seeking growth opportunities abroad
* German market dominated by Landesbanks-analyst
* Deutsche Bank capital pressure may help
By Lionel Laurent
PARIS, Jan 23 BNP Paribas, France's
biggest bank, has named a new management team for its German
operations as it seeks to make a fresh push in Europe's largest
economy amid lacklustre growth at home.
Although BNP's footprint in the euro zone is already vast
thanks to its key subsidiaries in Belgium, France and Italy,
the bank is seeking out pockets of opportunity in markets such
as Asia, Germany, and the United States after a rocky year
selling assets and cutting costs to boost its balance sheet.
Led by Camille Fohl, a top executive at BNP's Belgian
subsidiary Fortis who has also overseen retail operations in
central and eastern Europe, the five-strong German committee
includes specific roles such as managing retail banking,
corporate and investment banking and personal finance.
BNP has in the past year replaced investment banking
executives in Germany after reported differences over strategy.
Its new head of investment banking in Germany, Torsten Murke,
told French business daily Les Echos in August that BNP wanted
to be a top-five player in the euro zone's largest economy.
The German corporate banking market is seen as especially
tough for outsiders because of the dominance of regional lenders
known as "Landesbanks", making it more likely that BNP will seek
to focus more on capital markets activities like bond issuance.
"The German market is tough, particularly on the corporate
side," said Shailesh Raikundlia, an analyst at Espirito Santo.
"One area where BNP might do well is in debt capital markets ...
Access to capital markets is not a big franchise for
BNP might also be helped by concerns over balance sheet
strength at chief German investment banking rival Deutsche Bank
, Raikundlia said, in contrast with BNP's
already-beefed-up capital ratios under stricter Basel III rules.
"There is probably going to be more pressure on Deutsche
Bank to do something about (capital). It could mean more
(Reporting by Lionel Laurent; Editing by Mark Potter)