Banco Santander's half-yearly profit halves

The Spanish banking group registers strong lending growth in Latin America and Poland but continues to struggle at home.

Ups and downs: Alfredo Saenz, CEO of Banco Santander.

The Spanish banking group Banco Santander has reported an attributable profit of €1.7bn, or €1.8 per diluted share, for the first half of 2012 – a decline of 51.3 per cent compared to €3.5bn, or €0.39 per diluted share, for the same period last year.

According to the company, the decline in profit was the result of setting aside €1.3bn against real-estate exposure in Spain. This resulted in an accounting profit of just €100m for the quarter.

Net operating income increased by 5.5 per cent to €12.5bn (2011: €11.84bn), while gross income increased by 5.3 per cent to €22.54bn (2011: €21.4bn).

During the period, Santander UK posted attributable profit of £466m, an increase of 40.8 per cent compared to first half of 2011, while the company’s attributable profit in Continental Europe was €1.21bn, an decrease of 23.3 per cent compared to first half of 2011.

The company registered strong growth in lending in emerging market units in Latin America and Poland, while lending fell in deleveraging markets, such as Spain and Portugal.