Santander profits down 50%

27 July 2012

Santander experienced a marked decline in its profit during the opening six months of the year due to its exposure to Spain's toxic property sector.

Data from the eurozone's biggest bank has revealed that its overall first-half profits declined by around 50 per cent to €1.7 billion ($2.6 billion) as it continues to suffer from its involvement in this arena.

During the six-month period, the financier wrote off €2.8 billion worth of Spanish property loans, meaning it has now disowned €6 billion in lending arrangements in the housing market in total.

However, Santander indicated it is making progress in reducing its dependence on the property sector and managed to raise its profits from its UK operations by 41 per cent over the course of the first half.

Emilio Botin, chairman of the lender, commented: "The provisions we are making will allow us to put real estate write-offs in Spain behind us by the end of this year."

By Gary Cooper

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