June 7, 2018 / 10:38 AM / in 5 months

SocGen CEO dismisses talk of pending cross-border mergers in Europe

FILE PHOTO - Frederic Oudea, Chief Executive Officer of French bank Societe Generale, arrives to attend a state dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

PARIS (Reuters) - Cross-border bank mergers in Europe at the moment offer insufficient synergies between retail markets, Societe Generale Chief Executive Frederic Oudea said on Thursday.

France’s third-biggest bank recently denied rumors about a potential tie-up with Italy’s Unicredit (CRDI.MI).

“I don’t believe at all that we are currently in a situation to see cross-border mergers because the environment still is not that clear,” Oudea told a Goldman Sachs investor conference on Thursday, according to a transcript of his speech by Thomson Reuters StreetEvents.

“I don’t believe today you have very significant synergies between retail activities in different markets,” Oudea said.

“And really, I think, it’s not the priority. For us, the priority is to deliver our business plan”.

Oudea reiterated, however, that there were too many banks in Europe and that over the long term a reshuffle was needed.

In the current environment, he said, domestic retail consolidation was the most obvious option.

Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva; editing by Leigh Thomas and Jason Neely

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