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Exchange rates batter Santander profits

Published on 27/07/2016

Banco Santander, the eurozone's biggest bank by capitalisation, on Wednesday reported second-quarter profits plunged by 50 percent, hit by adverse exchange rates and one-off items.

It said net profits for the period were 1.28 billion euros ($1.41 billion) compared to 2.54 billion a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Factset had predicted profits of around 1.23 billion euros.

Over the whole first half, profits slid 31.7 percent to 2.911 billion euros, a result the bank attributed to exceptional items and adverse exchange rates against the euro in its main markets.

The bank incurred restructuring costs of 475 million euros in the second quarter. It had announced in April that it wanted to cut up to 1,200 jobs in its home market in Spain.

“We continue to deliver on our commitments and reaffirm guidance of an increase in earnings and total dividend per share in 2016, despite worse-than-expected economic conditions,” Chairman Ana Botin said in a statement.

Britain remained the biggest contributor to earnings (20 percent), ahead of Brazil (19 percent) and Spain (15 percent).

But net profits in the UK declined £656 million (783 million euros) during the first half due to new bank taxes.

Botin said Santander remained “committed” to Britain despite last month’s referendum vote to leave the European Union.