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Earlier this week, larger rival BNP Paribas also revealed that its retail business in France had struggled.
Societe Generale has launched a plan, cutting overheads at its French retail arm where net interest income fell more than 5 percent over 2016.
Financial services to companies, that includes vehicle leasing, fleet management and equipment financing, has been one of SocGen’s growth engines.
It also reduced costs at its investment banking unit, which enjoyed a trading surge in the second half of the year but nevertheless ended with revenues down 2 percent over 2016.
SocGen said it would float ALD Automotive, that had 1.4 million vehicles in its park.
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However, the net profit figure of 390 million euros ($417 million) still came in ahead of analyst expectations of 354 million euros in a Reuters poll.
On a brighter note, both its global banking and retail bank revealed a significant activity boost in the fourth quarter versus year ago.
The former division, which includes investment banking, security services and asset management, saw net profit push 51 percent higher to 436 million euros while the latter business saw net profit lift by a quarter despite the ongoing strain of low interest rates.
The multinational bank, which provides a full array of investment and retail banking services, had taken a 235 million euro loss related to the sale of its fully-owned Croatian subsidiary OTP Bank during the reporting period.
SocGen CEO: Looking to the future with confidence Thursday, 9 Feb 2017 | 1:24 AM ET | 02:04Societe Generale’s fourth-quarter net profit fell by around two-fifths due to the negative impact of higher taxes and a unit sale, France’s third largest bank by assets announced on Thursday.