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BNP Paribas reported better-than-expected first-quarter revenue and net profit, boosted by higher trading revenue after a push to expand its investment bank.

France’s biggest listed lender has stuck to its financial targets through 2025, despite slowing economic growth in its home market and spillovers to the eurozone from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Its goals include annual revenue growth of more than 3.5% and a desire to return 60% of profits to shareholders.

Revenue rose 11.7% in the first quarter year-on-year to 13.2 billion euros, while net profit was 2.1 billion euros, up 19.2% , exceeding analysts’ forecasts.

The bank benefited from a lower cost of risk, with bad debt charges falling sharply after a period dominated by the coronavirus pandemic and as it released certain provisions linked to Bank of the West, which it is selling.

Like its US rivals, BNP Paribas noted that deals slowed in the first three months of the year and companies issued less debt and equity to fund acquisitions. But the bank’s equity and fixed income trading revenue rose sharply, with equity trading revenue up nearly 61%.

The group has integrated a blue-chip services business it acquired from Deutsche Bank, a unit that serves hedge funds, and has fully integrated its Exane stock brokerage, as part of a wider drive to to take advantage of rivals who withdraw or restructure their investment. banking units.

BNP Paribas extended its lending across the eurozone at the height of the coronavirus pandemic and sought to capitalize on it.

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