Feb. 14 - The CEO of BNP Paribas talks to Reuters about the French banks's three-year plan to save 2 billion euros in annual costs and ramp up growth in Asia after its fourth-quarter profits were hit by Europe's weak economy. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
(ROUGH-CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION) BNP Paribas said it would kick off a three-year plan to save 2 billion euros ($2.69 billion) in annual costs and ramp up growth in Asia after its fourth-quarter profits were hit by Europe's weak economy. The bank's Chief Executive Jean-Laurent Bonnafe told Reuters the savings would come from simplifying its reporting structure and from investing in technology improvements. It said no business would be shut down. While BNP is seen as robust and well-capitalised after a year-long drive to cut its balance sheet and shrink its holdings of risky eurozone sovereign debt, it is heavily exposed to mature European markets and is under pressure to show investors new paths to growth. The bank also said it was eyeing a ramp-up in Asia, where it wants to lift revenues from investment banking and its asset-gathering Investment Solutions division to over 3 billion euros ($4 billion) by 2016, up from 2 billion in 2012. It is also aiming to hire 1,300 people in the region through to 2015.