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UPDATE 2-SocGen to take 100 mln eur hit on Greek unit sale
October 19, 2012 / 12:36 PM / in 5 years

UPDATE 2-SocGen to take 100 mln eur hit on Greek unit sale

* Nominal sale price for Geniki is 1 mln eur

* SocGen to make investment of 444 mln eur

* Shares in SocGen fall 2.5 pct (Adds detail on tax deductions)

By Lionel Laurent

PARIS, Oct 19 (Reuters) - French bank Societe Generale said it would take a 100 million-euro ($131 million) hit to third-quarter net profit from its sale of loss-making Greek unit Geniki Bank to Piraeus Bank.

The news comes two days after rival Credit Agricole sealed its exit from debt-laden Greece - at a much higher cost of 2 billion euros - as French banks pull out of the epicentre of the euro zone debt crisis.

Banks across Europe are exiting markets and businesses to better resist the region’s economic slowdown as well as tougher capital requirements.

SocGen said on Friday that there would be “no significant impact on the group’s capital ratios” from the Geniki sale.

The French bank’s shares closed down 2.5 percent at 26.10 euros, underperforming a 2.2 percent fall in the broader European bank index.

SocGen is effectively paying Piraeus 444 million euros to get Geniki off its hands, including 163 million euros of bonds - convertible into Piraeus shares or Tier 1 capital - and a cash advance of 281 million euros to recapitalise Geniki.

The nominal sale price was 1 million euros, SocGen said, adding that the deal was expected to close by year-end.

Credit Agricole and SocGen have managed to recoup 2 billion euros from the total bill of exiting Greece thanks to French tax law, which analysts said allowed the banks to deduct taxes on capital injected into their ailing Greek units.

French banks are still keeping some exposure to Greece via their investment banks. SocGen has around 500 million euros in loans to Greek companies, while Credit Agricole transferred some shipping loans to its investment bank before selling Emporiki. ($1 = 0.7638 euros) (Reporting by Lionel Laurent; Editing by James Regan and Helen Massy-Beresford)

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