The French Prime Minister, Francois Fillon, has warned banks that the government will protect Societe Generale from any hostile takeover bids from its rivals.

Last week it was revealed that Societe Generale had lost 4.9 billion euros due to the unauthorised trading of alleged rogue trader Jerome Kerviel.

Fillon said, The government is very much on its guard against all attempts to destabilise Societe Generale. The government will not let Societe Generale be the object of hostile raids by other companies, reports Reuters.

The bank's losses led to speculation that that it could be taken over by a rival, at the same time giving a boost to the price of its shares. One potential candidate a takeover is BNP Paribas, Frances's largest bank. BNP Paribas attempted but failed to takeover Societe Generale in 1999.

Societe Generale's Chairman, Daniel Bouton has come under increasing pressure to resign, with France's economy minister, Christine Lagarde saying on LCI television, In a difficult moment, the board members are there to decide if the person in charge is the best placed to run the ship when it is pitching a bit, or whether they should change the captain.

Bouton offered to resign when the scandal was made public, however the board did not accept his resignation. The board is due to meet again on Wednesday, Bouton has said his resignation offer still stands.