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Banco Santander's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

These very recurring results are due to the group’s diversification and to the right geographic mix between emerging and mature markets. As I’ve pointed out, we have a strong presence in growth markets, which generates 56% of the group’s profit. Of the rest, 31% of the profit is generated in mature markets, where provision levels are still fairly stable, and 13% of the profits comes from markets where cyclically high provisions and therefore, with profits still depressed in relation to their potential towards, which we must move in the next quarters and years.

The Group’s international expansion in the last few years has enabled us to build a business portfolio which is better than those of other savings national banks. Today, we have a stronger presence in emerging markets than our major competitors. We have very strong local brands with critical mass, whilst many of our competitors have banks without sufficient scale in many markets. And this has enabled us to have a better profit mix and a more stable and recurring profit. As a result of all of that, we are in an excellent position to normalize our profit.

And speaking about the improvement of our business portfolio, I should refer to the acquisition that we’ve made in Poland, which will merge BZ WBK with the Kredyt Bank. This is a very good transaction for the good and consistent with our strategy and the Santander business model for several reasons. First, because we increase our weight in a high-wealth core market. Second, because it enables us to become one of the top three players in the Polish financial system, far ahead of our nearest competitors.

Thirdly, it provides us with an excellent opportunity for growth and to improve our profitability with annual growth in this period of between 15% to 20%. And fourthly, it meets the Group’s financial criteria that it increases EPS and it offers an attractive return on the investment of almost 13% in the third year. And according to our forecast, fifthly, Santander will have at the end of the process a stake of between 76% and 81% of the new bank. Others shareholders will include the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which has recently announced its entry into the Zachodni Bank’s shareholding structure. So in summary, this is an opportunity, unique opportunity in terms of scale, positioning, profitability and growth potential in Poland.

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