Chillin' out till it needs to be funded
BNP Paribas, the largest French bank, said on Tuesday that it would raise €4.3 billion from investors to repay government bailout funds, The New York Times’s David Jolly and Chris V. Nicholson reported.BNP Paribas, based in Paris, said its board had decided to repay, within the next month, the €5.1 billion, or $7.5 billion, it borrowed from the state March 31. The government would also receive a payout of €226 million on the nonvoting preferred shares it purchased.Baudouin Prot, BNP Paribas’s chief executive, said in a conference call that the G20 meeting in last week in Pittsburgh, where world leaders agreed in principle that banks should raise more capital, had influenced the timing of BNP’s decision to issue shares, as had the lender’s share price, which is up more than 92 percent this year.Christophe Nijdem, a banking analyst at Alphavalue in Paris, called the stock issue’s timing “judicious.”“They had a window of opportunity,” he said. “A lot of banks will turn to the market in the months to come, and it’s first come, first serve.”Mr. Nijdem added that, compared to American banks, European banks were more leveraged, and had to play catch up. Major Western banks are forecast to post losses of almost $2.5 trillion for the period 2007-2010, according to the International Monetary Fund.