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PARIS (Reuters) - Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) has set itself a target to increase profits at its retail banking arms in Russia and Romania, the chief executive of France's No. 2 listed bank has told the Financial Times.
SocGen, like its rivals at home and abroad, is cutting costs and selling assets to better resist Europe's sovereign debt crisis, mounting regulatory costs and volatile markets.
The bank's international retail division - which swung to a net loss in the second quarter - is also facing an overhaul as new management is appointed and assets are sold, with Qatar National Bank (QNBK.QA) eyeing a possible bid for its Egyptian arm National Societe Generale Bank NSGB.CA.
"What will be key is that at the end of 2013...we show that our international retail is delivering growth and more profitability than today," CEO Frederic Oudea was quoted as saying in an article posted on the FT's website late Sunday.
The FT article added that Oudea had said Russian arm Rosbank would expand corporate activity and that Romanian arm BRD would aim to bring down loan-loss provisions.
Oudea told a conference earlier this month that SocGen saw "decent" group returns beyond 2013, though he warned that profitability would fall short of pre-crisis levels.
Reporting by Lionel Laurent; editing by Gunna Dickson