Channel NewsAsia

Spain's giant Santander bank reports 90.5% profit leap

Spain's Santander bank, the largest in the eurozone by market value, reported on Thursday a 90.5-percent leap in net profits for 2013, hailing a "turnaround" after enduring years of economic crisis.

MADRID: Spain's Santander bank, the largest in the eurozone by market value, reported on Thursday a 90.5-percent leap in net profits for 2013, hailing a "turnaround" after weathering years of economic crisis.

Financial troubles in Spain and other fragile eurozone economies had forced Santander to slash the estimated value of its assets in past years, eroding its profits.

In 2013, however, net profit leapt to 4.37 billion euros ($6 billion), up 90.5 percent from the previous year.

Net banking income fell 13.3 percent to 25.935 billion euros over the same period.

"After several years of strengthening the balance sheet and capital, Banco Santander is embarking on a period of strong profit growth in the coming years," Santander chairman Emilio Botin said in a statement.

Santander said the 2013 results marked a "turnaround" after the declining profits of recent years,

Despite the eurozone's problems, Santander said its worldwide operations had allowed it to produce a profit in every quarter of the past five years.

In 2013, it said, 53 percent of group profit came from emerging markets.

Over the five years of crisis, the bank said it had set aside 65 billion euros in provisions and boosted the share of rock solid core capital by 18.4 billion euros, or 4.13 percentage points, to 11.7 percent of all capital.

In the final quarter of 2013 alone, Santander said net profit more than doubled to 1.06 billion euros from 423 million euros a year earlier. Net banking income fell 11.6 percent to 6.28 billion euros over the same period.

The results were slightly weaker than anticipated by investors, however, leading the bank's shares to dip by 1.6 percent to 6.279 euros in mid-morning trade on the Madrid stock exchange.

Santander said only seven percent of its 2013 profits came from Spain.

Some 23 percent of the profits came from Brazil, 17 percent from Britain and 10 percent each from the United States and Mexico.

A property market collapse in 2008 left many of Spain's banks awash with bad loans.

Spain obtained a 41.3-billion-euro eurozone rescue loan to shore up the balance sheets of fragile institutions under a financial sector programme, which it exited on January 23.

Under the programme, which did not affect healthy institutions such as Santander, hard-hit Spanish banks transferred many of their dodgy assets to a "bad bank", called Sareb, which is pooling the bad assets so as to sell them at a discount.

Tweet Photos, Videos and Update on this Story to  #cna