Brexit bashes Spanish banking giant’s British earnings

Brexit bashes Spanish banking giant's British earnings
Santander Bank's president Ana Patricia Botin looks on during a press conference announcing earnings in January 2016. Photo: AFP
Spanish banking giant Santander said Wednesday its net profit rose 4.0 percent in 2016 to €6.2 billion euros ($6.7 billion), but Brexit had knocked earnings in Britain by nearly 15 percent.

The result exceeded the €6.0 billion euros expected by analysts surveyed by financial data provider Factset.

The bank attributed the gain to strong growth in fee income, which was “partially offset by the weakening of certain currencies against the euro”.

Britain had been Santander's top market for profits, but the 14.7-percent drop in profit to €1.7 billion knocked it into second place behind Brazil.

It blamed the drop on the “weakening of the pound against the euro following the outcome of the referendum on EU membership” as well as an increase in taxes.

That meant Britain accounted for 20 percent of the bank's pre-tax profit, behind recession-wracked Brazil at 21 percent.

Santander's shares jumped 4.4 percent in morning trading while Madrid's main index was up 1.65 percent.

Santander is neck and neck with France's BNP Paribas for the position as the eurozone's biggest bank by capitalisation.