Bloomberg News

SocGen Said to Create New Financial Institutions Unit

March 26, 2012

Societe Generale SA (GLE), France’s second-biggest bank, plans to create a new unit focused on providing funding and advice to other financial institutions, three people familiar with the matter said.

The unit will be led by Pierre-Yves Bonnet, currently global head of strategic and acquisition finance at the bank, said the people, who declined to be identified because the plans are private.

The move comes as part of a broader reorganization of Societe Generale’s investment bank scheduled for next month, two of the people said. The French lender plans to combine its equity capital markets team with its mergers and acquisitions unit, the people said. Laurent Morel, head of global ECM at the bank, will leave his current position while remaining at Societe Generale in another role, the people said.

The combined unit, which may be named corporate finance, will be led by Thierry d’Argent, Societe Generale’s current head of mergers and acquisitions, said the people. Both Bonnet and d’Argent will report to Thierry Aulagnon, head of the lender’s coverage and investment banking division.

Societe Generale was one of the bookrunners for UniCredit SpA (UCG)’s $10 billion rights offer in January and also managed Banca Popolare di Milano Scarl (PMI)’s share sale last year. Europe’s top financial regulator is requiring the region’s banks to bolster their capital levels by mid-2012 to withstand losses on sovereign debt.

Societe Generale is reshuffling that division after its corporate and investment bank posted its first loss in two years and the French lender’s fourth-quarter profit fell 89 percent. That unit had a 482 million-euro ($642 million) loss last quarter as Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis curbed client trading and Societe Generale sold and wrote down troubled assets.

The bank’s net income in the three months ended in December declined to 100 million euros from 874 million euros a year earlier, the bank said on Feb. 16.

Societe Generale ranks No. 7 in advising equity sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the highest ranking for a French bank.

To contact the reporters on this story: Zijing Wu in London at zwu17@bloomberg.net; Jacqueline Simmons in Paris at jackiem@bloomberg.net; Chris V. Nicholson in Paris at cnicholson22@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jacqueline Simmons at jackiem@bloomberg.net


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