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Brazilian union calls for Santander talks

The major banking union in Brazil is urging Santander Central Hispano to meet for talks immediately to discuss concerns that the company will cut jobs and close branches if it goes ahead with the purchase of ABN Amro Holding.

Spanish bank Santander could pay up to 20 billion euros for Sao-Paulo based ABN Amro Holding and the company's Banca Antonveneta in Italy, making it the third largest lender in Brazil.

Bloomberg reports that Sao Paulo union leader Luiz Claudio Marcolino has handed a letter to the country's labour minister, Carlos Lupi, calling for jobs to be safeguarded if the takeover bid is successful.

Rita Berlofa, an executive director of the banking union, told the news agency: "We cannot accept that fathers and mothers lose their jobs in the name of capitalism. We want guarantees that won't happen."

Banco Santander Central Hispano has reported that its net profits rose by 21 per cent during the first quarter of 2007, boosted by strong performance in Europe and Latin America.

The Spanish bank has teamed up with Royal Bank of Scotland and Belgian group Fortis as part of a consortium bidding for Dutch bank ABN Amro against UK-based Barclays. If the consortium bid is successful, the partners plan to carve up ABN Amro, with Santander taking its Brazilian and Italian units.