Credit Agricole reported a sharp rise in its core capital ratio to 12.4 percent, as the bank took advantage of higher profits and a sale of a stake in investment company Eurazeo to beef up its financial position.

An improving economic activity in its core European markets, such as France and Italy, coupled with a slight increase in interest rates and cost cuts, helped drive its second-quarter net income up 17 percent to 1.35 billion euros ($1.60 billion).

Revenues fell 0.6 percent, as its asset manager Amundi and insurance business suffered quarterly outflows.

Its common equity tier one ratio, a key measure of financial strength, rose by 50 basis points compared to the end of March.

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