MADRID Jan 11 Spain's largest bank Santander
expects profits to recover in 2013 after its
non-performing loans ratio peaks in the first half of the year,
Chairman Emilio Botin told UK financial magazine The Banker.
"In 2012, our profits will be down because we have made
large extraordinary provisions for Spanish real estate loans,"
Botin said in an interview with The Banker this month.
"Santander will finish the extraordinary provisioning in
2012, ahead of most other banks, and we expect our Spanish
non-performing loans to peak at about 7 percent in the first
half of 2013. Profits will then start to rebound," he said.
A Santander spokeswoman confirmed the comments on Friday.
Santander's Spanish bad loans ratio stood at 6.38 percent in
the third quarter of 2012, well below the national average.
Spanish banks have had to provision heavily against toxic
real estate assets after a decade-long property boom came to an
abrupt end five years ago and the sector has yet to recover.
Santander had completed 90 percent of government-enforced
writedowns on soured property investments as of the third
quarter, when it reported a plunge in net profit to 100 million
euros ($132 million) from 1.8 billion euros in the same period
(Reporting By Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Mike Nesbit)