France\'s largest bank BNP Paribas said Friday its first quarter net profit rose 9.6 percent to 2.86 billion euros ($3.8 billion), boosted by a large asset sale gain. Analyst forecasts were for a three months to March net profit of 2.66 billion euros. It said the sale of a near 29 percent stake in investment fund Klepierre brought in 1.5 billion euros. Excluding exceptional items, first quarter net profit came to 2.03 billion euros, down 22 percent, it said. BNP Paribas said it continued to reduce its holdings of government bonds -- notably of struggling eurozone members Greece, Ireland and Portugal -- during the period but still had to take a charge of 142 million euros on its exposure. The lender also cut its French government bond holdings by 25 percent to 10.3 billion euros.