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SocGen CEO: cross-border mergers between European banks are structurally unlikely

54th WEF annual meeting in Davos

By Mathieu Rosemain

PARIS (Reuters) - Cross-border mergers between European banks are structurally unlikely, Societe Generale CEO Slawomir Krupa said on Wednesday, a week after French President Emmanuel Macron called for greater consolidation in the sector.

"In Europe today, they are extraordinarily unlikely for a number of reasons, the first of which is regulatory: there are significant capital surcharges linked to the size of banking institutions," he told shareholders at the company's annual general meeting in Paris.

Two individual shareholders pressed Krupa to react to specific comments made by Macron related to SocGen, as the French president appeared open to seeing the lender acquired by another large European bank.

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Asked if, for example, he would be willing to consider the sale of SocGen to Spain's Santander, Macron said: "Dealing as Europeans means you need consolidation as Europeans."

Macron's comments lifted SocGen's shares but were criticised by the bank's main trade union.

Krupa declined to comment on Macron's remarks but added that the absence of a European banking union, illustrated by current restrictions linked to the circulation of cross-border liquidity, made such tie-ups very difficult.

His comments echoed those made by BNP Paribas' CEO Jean-Laurent Bonnafe last week.

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Kirsten Donovan)