Banco Santander, Spain's largest bank, said Wednesday its third-quarter profits held steady at ⁈illion ($3.3 billion), with increased loan losses weighing on the bottom line despite improving business in Britain.
The euro-zone's largest bank by market capitalization said the profit figure for the July-September period compared to ⁈illion ($3.29 billion) in same quarter of 2008.
It said revenue in the third quarter grew 11 percent year-on-year, and profits by Santander units in Britain grew 58 percent to 1.16 billion pounds sterling in the first nine months of the year.
But non-performing loans continued to sap the bank's bottom line. Net loan-loss provisions in the third quarter totaled ⁈illion ($3.82 billion), up 44 percent from the same period of 2008. For the first nine months of the year, provisions for bad loans have grown 47 percent, the bank said.
In Britain, Santander's strong performance stemmed largely from positive contributions by Bradford & Bingley _ Santander bought its deposits and branches in Sept. 2008 _ and Alliance & Leicester, which it acquired in Oct. 2008.
Because of the pound's slide against the euro, Santander's profits in Britain as measured in euros rose 39.3 percent to ⁈illion ($1.95 billion), compared to the nearly 60 percent rise when measured in pounds.
In Latin America, Santander's profits for the first nine months of the year dropped 2.1 percent to ⁈llion ($4.16 billion) amid a drop in lending because of the recession. In the countries where Santander operates, including Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, the bank's lending is down 11 percent over the past 12 months, Santander said.
Still, Santander said it is on track to match its 2008 net profit figure of ⁈illion ($13.2 billion).
The bank's net profits had fallen 5 percent in the first quarter because of Spain's economic slump and by 4 percent in the second quarter, in part due to a surge in non-performing loans.
Santander shares were down 2.69 percent at euro11.05 ($16.44) in early trading in Madrid.