Soc Gen: No comment on Newedge rumor

The official statement regarding today’s report that French bank Societe Generale was selling its stake in futures broker Newedge is that "Societe Generale will not comment on market rumors."

The bank did put out a news release earlier in September describing “transformation” efforts by the bank that would reduce its exposure to sovereign debt, lower it s leverage and control costs.

Societe Generale Chairman and CEO Frédéric Oudéa stated in the release, “Societe Generale’s foundations are solid. Its exposure to (Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Spain’s) sovereign debt is low and very manageable in any final scenario. The Group’s businesses are profitable, its liquidity situation is very much satisfactory and so are its shareholder equity and solvency levels.”

The release detailed how the bank has been reducing access to short-term liquidity.

What may have led to rumors about Soc Gen unloading assets is an item in the release under the sub title “Resolute actions to accelerate the transformation.”

In addition to lowering leverage and cutting costs, it stated, “The Group would free €4 billion of capital by 2013 through business assets disposals.”

Oudéa did no provide specifics regarding what assets would be sold at a press conference following the release but said they would mostly come from the global investment management and services division, which includes Newedge as well as several other of the bank’s assets including Amundi Asset Management, TCW, Societe Generale Private Banking and Societe Generale Securities Services.

Since then there has been a lot of speculation regarding exactly what assets would be sold to raise that capital.

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