French banks 'struggling to sell assets'

27 September 2011

Attempts by two of the largest banks in France to offload assets have been hit by a number of hurdles.

BNP Paribas and Societe Generale are both hoping to make sales in an effort to regain investor confidence and safeguard capital - but are struggling to find decent prices due to the instability of the global economy, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Shares in the two lenders have been hit in recent months as a result of the deepening European debt crisis, with Societe Generale - which has more than 140 years of history - being particularly affected.

Jorge Mayo, an analyst with Royal Bank of Scotland, said: "This is not a very easy market in which to sell assets."

In a bid to ease investor qualms, French banks have promised to reduce the size of their balance sheets, while the country's government has reiterated it has no plans for state intervention in the sector.

By Tony Aynsley

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