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Calyon launches with a small bang

The latest new name in European banking, Calyon, becomes fully operational this month. It?s the product of the 2003 merger of Crédit Agricole Indosuez and Crédit Lyonnais, bringing together their investment banking and capital markets businesses. The rebranding and relaunch are being kept relatively low profile, mainly because the new name is already well known among clients. Indeed it is backdated, having been used to refer to the bank since January.

Despite the lack of fanfare, head of capital markets Thierry Sciard is excited about the plans. The ex-Salomon banker wants Calyon to challenge firms such as BNP Paribas and SG in France and across Europe. He predicts, with a reasonable amount of confidence, that the new firm will quickly become a serious competitor in businesses such as debt capital markets and corporate finance.

He will have a difficult job, simply because the costs of investing in staff and technology to build and enhance businesses are high. But the firm does have a good chance. And it will have more than e10 billion in tier 1 capital, which means that it will eventually look for acquisitions to boost its franchise.

But as with all mergers, perhaps the trickiest task will be in people management.

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