France's biggest bank BNP Paribas reports profits back up in 3rd quarter despite difficulties

France's largest bank, BNP Paribas SA, says its profits bounced back in the third quarter after being slammed by exposure to Greek debt last year.

The bank said Wednesday that its profits were euro1.3 billion in the third quarter, up dramatically from euro541 million in the same period of 2011, when it was hit by a huge writedown on Greek debt.

The growth in profits was largely due to strong investment banking activity. Its investment banking unit CIB registered a 7.3 percent rise in pre-tax profit to euro732 million.

BNP says that despite a "difficult environment" for banks, it has boosted its capital earlier than scheduled under the so-called Basel III rules meant to make banks better able to withstand the kind of financial crises that have hit the sector in recent years.