Santander reports sale of Colombian units for $1.225 bln

7th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spanish banking giant Santander said on Wednesday it had agreed to sell its units in Colombia to Chile's CorpBanca for $1.225 billion (910 million euros) which it will use to strengthen its balance sheet.

The sale of Banco Santander Colombia and several other smaller group subsidiaries in the Latin American country will generate capital gains of 615 million euros for Santander, the bank said in a statement.

Santander, the eurozones biggest bank by market value, aims to boost its top-tier capital ratio to 10 percent by June 30 of next year without government help.

The new recapitalisation target is higher than the 9.0 percent required by the European Banking Authority.

Santander's units in Colombia posted a net profit of 54 million euros last year, accounting for just 0.5 percent of the group's overall profit.

"Our market share in retail and commercial banking in Colombia is far from the 10 percent we aim for in the countries in which we have a presence," Banco Santander Chairman Emilio Botín said in the statement.

The sale of Santander's units in Colombia is expected to close during the first half of 2012 and is subject to the carrying out of a public offer to minority shareholders.

© 2011 AFP

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