SocGen keeps its head above water

A reclassification of assets allows Societe Generale to post an improvement in earnings. The French bank also keeps investors happy by paying a dividend, but faces a difficult 2009.

Societe Generale's chief executive, Frederic Oudea, declined yesterday to give guidance for the bank's prospects in 2009 despite announcing a doubling of profits in 2008. He said that SocGen recorded a 2 billion $2.5 billion profit last year, up 112% from 947 million in 2007, but that it is too early to have a clear idea of how market conditions will affect profits this year.

The improved performance is relative, of course, because this time last year SocGen...

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