* Announces 3.8 bln euros in charges after big hit in Nov
* Many related to ill-timed deals before financial crisis
* Reflect tighter regulations, macroeconomic environment
* Follow similar writedown by Deutsche Bank
* Shares trim early losses
By Christian Plumb and Matthias Blamont
PARIS, Feb 1 Credit Agricole, France's
No. 3 bank, announced a further 3.8 billion euros ($5.2 billion)
in charges on Friday as banks struggle to move on from ill-timed
deals before the 2008 financial crisis.
The charges come less than three months after Credit
Agricole unveiled 3.6 billion euros of writedowns with its
third-quarter results and will plunge it to the largest annual
loss since it went public in 2001.
They also come a day after Deutsche Bank,
Germany's biggest bank, announced almost $4 billion of charges.
Banks across the world are cutting costs and selling off, or
writing down, assets in a bid to meet tougher regulations aimed
at preventing a repeat of the 2008 crisis.
The European Union's markets watchdog said last month it had
told companies and their accountants they would be named
publicly if they failed to properly write down goodwill
impairments in their latest results.
Credit Agricole shares are up 15 percent so far this year,
versus an 8.5 percent gain for the European banking sector,
reflecting hopes its previous clean ups, such as shedding
troubled Greek unit Emporiki, would allow it to turn a corner.
Credit Agricole later on Friday said it had completed the
sale of Emporiki to Alpha Bank and the deal would have a
"slightly positive" impact on its 2012 fourth-quarter results.
Like other banks, Credit Agricole has been selling assets
and streamlining its business to meet stricter regulations after
the 2008 financial crisis. Last November, it took a 1.96-billion
euro-writedown on the sale of Emporiki bank.
The shares opened down 3 percent in Paris, but quickly
trimmed their losses and closed up 3.37 percent at 7.52 euros.
KBW analyst Jean-Pierre Lambert called the latest set of
charges "a delayed P&L (profit and loss account) recognition of
value destruction from past acquisitions."
Credit Agricole is now trying to retreat from an era of
disastrous, mostly cross-border deals, to refocus on its
The latest charges include 923 million euros related to
consumer finance and 852 million for Italian retail banking, as
well as a 267-million writedown on the bank's 20 percent stake
in Portuguese lender Banco Espirito Santo.
Credit Agricole said 2.68 billion euros in goodwill
writedowns reflected tighter regulatory requirements as well as
"the present macro-economic and financial environment in the
relevant countries and business lines".
Coming on top of a cumulative nine-month loss for the bank
of 2.5 billion euros, the writedowns will mean a big annual loss
when it announces fourth-quarter results in 20 days time.
The charges will have no impact on solvency or liquidity
ratios, the bank said, although a series of other accounting
writedowns could have a marginal impact on regulatory ratios.
Those include an 850-million-euro hit from the revaluation
of its own debt on its quarterly revenues, which translates into
a roughly 550-million-euro impact on net profit.
"There are many non-recurring charges and the goodwill
impairment won't have an impact, so I think the market will
ignore the news," said Exane analyst Guillaume Tiberghien.
French rival Societe Generale last month said its
fourth quarter would be hit by hundreds of millions of euros in
one-off charges, including an unspecified portion of 384 million
euros in goodwill for brokerage Newedge, which is co-owned by
Credit Agricole's own writedowns included 366 million euros
for Newedge. After the writedowns, Credit Agricole still has
about 15 billion euros of goodwill on its balance sheet.
The 3.8 billion euros in charges include a 160 million
impairment announced last week which reflects a move by the
regional banks that control the listed entity to cut the value
of their stake.