Business World

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Societe Generale jump

France's second-largest bank, Societe Generale, posted higher profits in the second quarter as earnings jumped and provisions for doubtful loans declined.

Net income rose to €1.03bn, the Paris-based bank said. However shares fell amid concern over the bank's business in Russia.

Actions taken by management regarding Russian operations and the impact of sanctions are a "key focus" for investors, Jean-Pierre Lambert, an analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods said.

Direct Line talks

Shares in Direct Line rose after the UK's biggest home and motor insurer said it is in talks to sell its German and Italian operations.

The stock climbed 3.3pc to 294.5 pence in London yesterday - its highest level since its initial public offering in 2012.

Italy and Germany "are great businesses, have got strong positions and perform well but there is a question of whether they might be worth more to someone else," chief financial officer John Reizenstein said. "We have decided to explore potential disposals of the operations."

Jeep sales hit high

Chrysler's US sales rose by a fifth last month as Jeep sales soared 41pc for the best July ever.

Sales rose to 167,667, marking the third-largest US automaker's 52nd consecutive monthly increase. "Chrysler Group had a solid July as each brand recorded sales gains on our way to a 20pc year-over-year increase, our strongest July sales in nine years," said Reid Bigland, head of US sales

Kenmare finance deal

Shares in exploration firm Kenmare Resources rose by 3.5pc in London as it announced it had restructured its debt for the Moma mine in Mozambique.

Half of an estimated $160m (€119m) due in August 2015 will be paid in nine equal semi-annual instalments over four years. The remainder will be paid in August 2019.

Barclays-owned Absa has also pushed back payment of a $20m loan owed by one year to March 2016.

ECB Russian probe

The European Central Bank is seeking clarification on whether the units of Russian banks operating in the euro area may access ECB funding after a fresh round of sanctions, sources said.

OAO Sberbank and VTB Group, two of Russia's largest lenders which have been targeted by EU sanctions, both have units based in Austria.

Irish Independent

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