French lender Societe Generale has reported a net income of EUR656m in the fourth quarter of 2015, a rise of 19.5% compared to EUR549m in the year-ago quarter.

The group’s quarterly gross operating income stood at EUR1.70bn, down 11.1% from EUR1.92bn a year earlier.

Operating expenses increased 3.3% to EUR4.35bn from EUR4.21bn in the fourth quarter of 2014.

The bank’s French retail banking division posted a net income of EUR315m, a 27% rise from EUR248m in the prior year. The unit’s gross operating income was up by 3% to EUR715m from EUR694m a year ago.

The bank’s international retail banking & financial services unit reported a net income of EUR284m, compared to EUR68m in the year-ago quarter.

The asset and wealth management arm of the bank registered a net banking income of EUR35m, up 25% compared to EUR28m a year earlier.

Societe Generale CEO Frédéric Oudéa said: "Underpinned by a sound and robust balance sheet, CET 1 capital levels are already well above regulatory requirements. Finally, the good operating performance and optimised capital management enable the Group to pay its shareholders a substantially higher dividend.

"In the unstable environment expected in 2016, the Societe Generale group, supported by a successful business model, will determinedly pursue its transformation plan in order to continue to provide its customers with added value and create value for its shareholders."