MADRID Jan 31 Spain's biggest bank Santander
on Thursday said its 2012 net profit had more than
halved, hurt by writedowns on soured property assets at home
while profit from key growth spots such as Latin America also
Net profit fell 59 percent to 2.21 billion euros ($3.0
billion), missing forecasts by analysts in a Reuters poll.
Santander said its bad loan ratio for the group was 4.54 percent
at the end of December, while it rose to 6.74 percent in Spain.
Santander -- the largest lender in the euro zone -- said it
had set aside 18.8 billion euros in provisions against bad loans
and assets in 2012. It added it had now covered all of its
government-enforced provisions against rotten real estate assets
The bank added that it had decided to return 24 billion
euros in long-term loans from the European Central Bank. It had
taken about 35 billion euros in so-called longer-term
refinancing operations or LTROs.