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Santander first quarter profits up 6%

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by Kay Mitchell

Spanish banking giant, Santander, has today posted a 6% rise in first quarter net profit, fuelled by strong growth in Brazil and the UK.

The bank said net profit totalled €2.215 billion (£1.93 billion) against €2.10 billion in the same period a year ago.

The bank’s results come just one day after credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded Spain’s credit rating by one notch to AA from AA+, which sent Santander’s share price close to a 3-month low.

Meanwhile, Santander chairman, Emilio Botín, said: “Santander is demonstrating the benefits of being a diversified bank, both in terms of geography and business lines.

“Despite reduced economic growth, we have maintained our ability to generate recurrent profit and have improved our liquidity, efficiency and solvency,” he added.

Mr Botin said the bank’s earnings were enhanced by acquisitions made in the UK, while Brazil contributed a fifth of the group’s profit.

Santander became a household name in the UK when it acquired Abbey for £9.5 billion back in 2004.

In July 2008, it rescued troubled mortgage lender, Alliance & Leicester (A&L), and a few months later, it took ownership of B&B’s savings business and branch network.

There is now speculation that the Spanish bank is the frontrunner for taking over Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS) 318 Williams & Glyn’s branch network since it is believed to be one of the few bidders with enough resources.

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News posted: April 29, 2010

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