French bank Societe Generale said it would stick to its 2012 profit target of 6 billion euros ($8.1 billion) after it resisted jittery markets and almost quadrupled fourth-quarter 2010 profit.

France's second-biggest listed bank also reiterated on Wednesday it would not need to raise capital to hit a core Tier 1 capital ratio of around 8.5 percent by 2013 under new Basel III guidelines not due to be fully implemented until 2019.

Market activity since the start of 2011 has improved from the end of last year, which was hit by the rescue of Ireland and sovereign debt fears, deputy chief executive Severin Cabannes told Reuters Insider television.

The market situation (between) January and now is slightly better than what we saw in the last quarter ... We can see since the beginning of the year a better trend, he said.

Cabannes said it was too early to gauge the financial impact from unrest in Egypt after popular protests swept President Hosni Mubarak out of power.


SocGen reported a fourth-quarter net profit of 874 million euros, up from 221 million in the 2009 period and compared with a forecast for 869 million in a Reuters poll.

The dividend was raised to 1.75 euros from 0.25 euro.

The performance contrasted with rivals like Credit Suisse

or Goldman Sachs, which suffered from bond market volatility in a quarter that saw Ireland rescued and debt fears spread to Portugal.

SocGen said while its fixed-income revenue fell 30 percent quarter-on-quarter, it profited from healthy French household balance sheets that drove retail earnings.

Retail banking has been doing relatively well in France where households tend to be conservative about debt. Cabannes told Reuters Insider revenue growth in French retail would slow in 2011 after a strong 2010.

Group revenue rose 34 percent to 6.9 billion euros, compared with a forecast for 6.5 billion. Loan-loss provisions did not fall by as much as expected, held back by difficult international markets like Greece and Romania.

Cabannes said operations in Russia, which turned profitable at the end of 2010, would see profits grow by around 5-10 percent in 2011.

Asked whether SocGen would follow BNP Paribas and Citibank

in closing its Ivory Coast operations following disputed elections and political turmoil, Cabannes said there were no plans to do so.

(Editing by Dan Lalor)

($1 = 0.7406 euro)