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Spanish Santander to book extra 2.3 bln euros in provisions

Santander, the biggest eurozone bank by market capitalisation, said Tuesday that it would book an extra 2.3 billion euros ($3.0 billion) in provisions against risky property investments this year.

A statement said the bank decided on the action to respect “new standards of real-estate assets.”

The move, which comes in addition to 3.18 billion euros in provisions booked in late 2011, was taken to ensure compliance with a Spanish government plan presented Friday to clean up the financial sector, a statement said.

That reform requires banks to come up with a total of 50 billion euros in provisions and capital reserves to offset possible losses on property loans.

Santander’s share of the total is 6.1 billion euros, the bank said.

It added that another 2.3 billion euros would be set aside from capital gains and operating profit in 2012, of which 900 million would be provided by the sale of Banco Santander Colombia.