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Societe Generale loss tops forecast

PARIS — Societe Generale posted a larger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss Wednesday and said it would move to cut costs and simplify operations.

The bank reported a net loss of $640 million, compared with a profit of $135 million in the period a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Reuters had expected a net loss of about $319 million.

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Profit was hurt by a charge of $922 million as the bank revalued its debt. The company also took a $511 million write-down of goodwill in its investment banking business, mostly on its Newedge Group joint venture with Credit Agricole.

Societe Generale also set aside $403 million as a provision against unexplained ‘‘litigation costs.’’

Like many of its global peers, the bank is under investigation by the authorities in a number of countries on suspicion that it conspired to manipulate the London interbank offered rate, or Libor. But bank officials declined to say whether that provision was specifically related to the investigation.

The bank said the fourth-quarter net income would have been about $722 million excluding the one-time items.

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