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SocGen targets Asian takeovers in Europe

PARIS, April 17 – French bank Societe Generale wants to expand into Asia to help finance expected takeover forays in Europe by Asian companies, the Financial Times newspaper reported on Friday.

Societe Generale intended to fill a hole left in Asia by the withdrawal of many investment banks from the region to concentrate on less risky business nearer their bases, the report said.

The bank was brought to its knees at the beginning of last year by alleged unauthorised dealing in its trading room.

The head of the investment division, Thierry Aulagnon, told the newspaper that because of the scandal, the bank had been forced to strengthen its balance sheet before the global financial crisis broke and before other banks encountered difficulty in raising funds from shareholders.

Some banks in the United States and Europe had "disappeared" or been nationalised because of the crisis and their new shareholders were not keen for them to invest far away, he said.

"We want to help Asian clients to find the right targets in Europe," he explained.

He also said that Asian clients wanted to diversify their assets away from dollars and that this was an opportunity for Societe Generale.

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