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Santander 'emerging stronger from turmoil'

Spain, June 20, 2009

Spain's Banco Santander, the euro zone's largest bank, said it was emerging from the global economic crisis in a stronger position and could boost earnings without making acquisitions.

"Santander is coming out of this crisis clearly strengthened. Our balance sheet, our business model and our prudent risk policy have clearly helped us around the worst difficulties," chairman Emilio Botin was quoted as saying in our sister publication, the Gulf daily News.

"We have been able to continue building a diversified business base which provides ample opportunities for future growth. We have absolutely no need for new acquisitions to increase our results,” he added.

Botin ruled out fresh acquisitions in the US.

He told the bank's annual meeting in the northern city of Santander he believed the worst of the crisis had passed and said the board was looking to the bank's second quarter earnings with optimism.

"The board has very positive impressions of our earnings performance in the second quarter," Botin said.

Santander kept its core earnings goal for this year and said it still aimed to pay out 4.8 billion euros ($6.7 billion) - or just over half the target figure - to shareholders.

But meeting its goals would be even harder this year than it was last year, Botin said.

On Wednesday (June 17), Bank of America-Merrill Lynch raised its recommendation on Santander shares to "buy" from "neutral."

The bank's integration expertise, exposure to structural growth in Latin America, particularly Brazil and its generic provisions supports its superior earnings momentum, the US investment bank said.

"The integration of (Brazil's) Banco Real is exceeding our expectations. The Brazilian economy is coping better than other countries with the economic crisis," Botin said.

On the debate surrounding possible government intervention in troubled Spanish banks, Botin said he believed the need for state action has been minimal in Spain compared to other parts of Europe. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Spain | earnings | Euro zone | Santander |

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