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France's Natixis to cut 700 jobs in next two years: union sources

By Lionel Laurent

PARIS (Reuters) - French investment bank Natixis is set to announce a plan to cut 700 jobs by 2015 as part of a drive to reduce costs, according to two union sources and documents obtained by Reuters.

The job cuts will affect most business lines including equity brokerage, equity derivatives, advisory and global transaction banking, with most of the impact hitting staff in France rather than other countries, according to the documents.

"Management held a meeting on Monday and presented the restructuring plan for the business lines through to 2015," one of the sources who attended the meeting said. "The total job cuts will be 700, according to the plan."

A spokeswoman for Natixis declined to comment.

Natixis, the smallest and youngest of France's listed investment banks, has already gone through a first wave of restructuring and sold swathes of risky assets after it was bailed out by its cooperative retail parent BPCE during the 2008 financial crisis.

But like larger rivals BNP Paribas and Societe Generale, the bank is preparing a new strategic plan and looking for ways to cut costs as eurozone crisis fears dissipate and investors focus on banks' ability to return cash and grow profitably.

Natixis took one step towards a new structure earlier this year when it said it would simplify its finances by shedding a 20 percent stake in its parent BPCE, paving the way for higher dividends in the future.

Shares of Natixis are up more than 54 percent year-to-date, the best-performing French bank stock on the STOXX Europe bank index <.SX7P>, up 19 percent in the same period.

(Reporting By Lionel Laurent; Writing by Nick Vinocur; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer and Grant McCool)

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