French banking giant Societe Generale said on Tuesday it planned to cut costs by 900 million euros ($1.2 billion) by 2015 after announcing a 50-percent drop in first-quarter profits. The group reported a net profit of 364 million euros from January to March, compared to 732 million euros over the same period last year, mainly as a result of accounting charges to its own debt. The figure was just below analysts' expectations of 370 million euros, according to DowJones Newswires. First-quarter banking revenue was down by 19.4 percent to 5.1 billion euros, the bank said in a statement. After achieving cost savings of 550 million euros last year, Societe Generale said it planned "to embark on an efficiency improvement programme" and further reduce costs to save a total of around 1.5 billion euros over 2012-2015, chairman and chief executive Frederic Oudea said in the statement. "By the end of the group's transformation at end-2015, the Societe Generale group, helped by businesses adapted to the new economic and regulatory environment in Europe, will be in a position to generate a ROE (return on equity) of 10 percent," he added.