Spain’s Santander quarterly profit climbs on efficiency gains in Europe By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Polish unit of Spain’s Santander (Santander Bank Polska) logo is pictured in Warsaw, Poland, May 10, 2021. REUTERS / Kacper Pempel / File Photo

By Jesús Aguado

MADRID (Reuters) -Spain’s Santander (BME 🙂 said on Tuesday its net profit in the first quarter beat forecasts, rising 58% on the same period a year earlier thanks to higher revenues and efficiency gains in Europe.

The euro zone second-biggest lender in terms of market value booked net profit of 2.54 billion euros ($ 2.72 billion), up from 1.61 billion euros in the same quarter last year when earnings were hit by restructuring charges worth 530 million euros.

Analysts polled by Reuters expected Santander to post a net profit of 2.26 billion euros.

Net profit also topped the 1.84 billion euros recorded in the first quarter of 2019, before COVID-19 hit Spain, although it was lower than the 2.78 billion euros booked in the fourth quarter of 2019.

“Looking ahead, while inflation will affect the pace of global economic growth, with specific impacts varying across our regions and businesses, we are reiterating our 2022 targets,” Santander Chairman Ana Botin said in a statement.

For 2022, the bank maintained an underlying return-on-equity ratio target (ROTE), a measure of profitability, of 13%, a cost-to-income ratio of 45%.

On an underlying basis, net profit rose overall by 19%, with Europe rising 30% thanks to strong growth in lending income.

Efficiency measures implemented in Europe coupled with ongoing interest rates hikes in Britain and Poland buoyed quarterly earnings.

Santander’s diversification, especially in Latin America, has helped the bank cope with tough conditions for lenders in Europe since the financial crisis, where it has been cutting costs to cope with ultra low interest rates.

($ 1 = 0.8282 euros)

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