* Revenue, net income beat forecasts on bond-trading rebound
* Basel III capital ratio hits fresh high of 9.5 pct
* CEO says to focus on cost cuts amid slowdown -Reuters
By Lionel Laurent and Matthias Blamont
PARIS, Nov 7 BNP Paribas doubled
third-quarter net profit on the back of a bond-trading rebound
and a drop in euro zone losses, helping it meet balance-sheet
targets ahead of schedule despite the economic slowdown.
France's No. 1 bank said it had completed its plan to slim
down its balance sheet and boost capital under tougher Basel III
rules, effectively turning the page on the turbulent summer of
2011 that saw French banks scramble to sell assets after
investors dumped their shares.
BNP's closely watched Basel III solvency ratio stood at 9.5
percent on Sept. 30, BNP said on Wednesday, a fresh high that
put it ahead of rivals like UBS and Bank of America
sooner than expected.
The bank's focus is now on broader cost cuts as Europe's
economic slowdown deepens, with its domestic retail division
seen as ripe for change, BNP's chief executive told Reuters
"We have a very good, strict risk control and we are also
working quite efficiently on the cost base," Jean-Laurent
Bonnafe said. "We are adapting the (French retail) model."
BNP's third-quarter net profit more than doubled to 1.32
billion euros ($1.69 billion) from 541 million in the same
period a year ago. The mean of 10 analyst estimates was 1.18
billion, according to a Reuters poll.
Revenue fell 3.4 percent to 9.69 billion euros. The mean
estimate in the poll was 9.31 billion.
Like rivals across the industry, BNP benefited from central
bankers' moves to spur growth and promises to keep the euro zone
from breaking apart, which buoyed trading in the third quarter.
The bank has also lifted its balance-sheet strength over the
past year by cutting staff, costs and its exposure to peripheral
euro zone economies like Greece. This time last year, BNP took
hefty losses on its Greek sovereign debt portfolio as part of an
agreement with global lenders.
However, with even core European economies like France
struggling to lift growth and bring unemployment down, BNP's
traditional retail-banking "cash cow" is weakening. French
retail revenue fell 2 percent, testament to bankers' views that
domestic branch networks are ripe for cutbacks.
($1 = 0.7812 euros)
(Editing by James Regan)