Banco Santander fourth quarter profits rise to €1.6bn

Stock gained over 28% in past year with improved growth expected for 2017

Banco Santander: fourth-quarter profit rose to €1.6 billion. Photograph: iStock

Banco Santander: fourth-quarter profit rose to €1.6 billion. Photograph: iStock

 

Banco Santander said on Wednesday that fourth-quarter profit rose to €1.6 billion on lower loan provisions and higher income from Brazil, beating analyst estimates.

Net income at Spain’s biggest bank compared with €25 million a year earlier when profit was hit by charges, including provisions for the wrongful sale in the UK of payment protection insurance.

Analysts had expected earnings of €1.48 billion, the average of five analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Chairman Ana Botin is counting on business in emerging markets and in consumer finance to help offset low interest rates in Europe, growing regulatory costs and weak demand for credit at home.

The bank lowered its profitability target for 2018 in September, citing diminished prospects for growth, especially after the UK vote to leave the European Union. Britain contributes about a fifth of the bank’s profit, the same as Brazil.

“Going forward, we have many opportunities for profitable growth in Europe and the Americas, in an environment we anticipate will be volatile but generally better than 2016,” Ms Botin said.

The stock has gained more than 28 per cent in the past year, more than the 13 per cent increase in the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Banks Price Index.

– (Bloomberg)