Spain’s Santander sees profits rise thanks to favourable business in UK and US

Shoppers pass a branch of Spain's Santander bank on Oxford Street, in central London.
Shoppers pass a branch of Spain's Santander bank on Oxford Street, in central London. Photo: LEON NEAL / AFP
Spanish banking giant Banco Santander said Wednesday that its profits grew strongly in the third quarter of this year, thanks in particular to a good performance in Britain and the United States.

Santander said in a statement that it booked bottom-line net profit of €2.17 billion ($2.5 billion) in the period from July to September, an increase of 24 percent over the same period a year earlier.

The figure was in line with the €2 billion forecast by analysts quizzed by FactSet.

“We delivered solid top line growth across all of our regions and businesses again this quarter,” said chief executive Ana Botín.

“Our performance in the US and the UK were particularly strong, underscoring the effectiveness of our strategy in these important markets.”

In the third quarter of 2020, Spain’s biggest bank had booked net profit of €1.75 billion, returning to the black after the coronavirus pandemic had pushed into a loss of more than €11 billion in the preceding three months.

CEO Botín said that Santander had managed to attract “more than one million customers” in the third quarter, while loans and deposits had increased by four percent and six percent respectively on a 12-month basis.

Looking ahead, “we are well on track to significantly outperform our profitability target for 2021,” Botín said.

“We remain confident of reaching our 13-15 percent medium-term profitability target thanks to the progress we have made to date (and) an improved outlook.”

In the full year of 2020, Santander booked a net loss of €8.7 billion, after it was forced to write down the value of several of its branches, particularly in the UK.

Santander has 452 branches in the UK, around 20,000 workers and 14 million customers.

In the US it has 600 branches, 10,000 employees and 2.1 million customers.

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