Spanish bank Banco Santander and Swedish Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken agree to acquire SEB’s retail banking activities in Germany

The Spanish bank Banco Santander and the Swedish Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB group) have agreed to the acquisition by Santander Consumer Bank of the retail banking activities of SEB in Germany for approximately 555 million euros.

Banco Santander said the acquisition, which will complement Santander’s leadership in consumer credit in Germany with a broader retail banking business, will almost double the number of branches in Santander Consumer Bank’s network. SEB’s retail network of 173 branches serves 1,000,000 customers, including 10,000 small and medium-sized businesses. Outstanding loans amounted to € 8.5 billion, 82% of which was mortgage loans. SEB’s retail activity has deposits of € 4.6 billion.

Santander President Emilio Botín said: “Germany is a central market for Santander. This acquisition is an important step towards achieving our goal of being a full-service retail bank in Europe’s largest market.

Santander Consumer Bank, a unit of Santander’s consumer credit division, is a leader in consumer credit in Germany. Thanks to agreements with more than 45,000 distributors, it is the leading independent provider of automobile financing and sustainable consumer loans, with 6 million customers and a 14% market share in installment loans. With customer loans of 22.315 billion euros at the end of 2009, Santander Consumer Bank contributed 385 million euros to the group’s net income in 2009, making it the sixth largest bank in Germany in terms of profits.

The transaction is expected to close in 2011 subject to relevant regulatory approvals.

The acquisition will have an impact of approximately 10 basis points (1%) on the capital base ratio of the Santander group, which stood at 8.8% as of March 31, 2010.

Banco Santander is a retail and commercial bank, based in Spain, present in 10 main markets. At the end of 2009, Santander was the largest bank in the euro area in terms of market capitalization and the fourth in the world in terms of profits. Founded in 1857 in Santander, Santander had 1,245 billion euros in funds under management at the end of 2009. Santander’s 170,000 employees serve its 92 million customers through 13,660 branches, more than any other international bank. It is the largest financial group in Spain and Latin America, with leading positions in the United Kingdom and Portugal. Santander has a large presence in Europe through its Santander Consumer Finance branch and in the northeastern United States through Sovereign Bancorp. In 2009, Santander recorded € 8.94 billion in net income group share.

Banco Santander has been run by the same family since its founding in 1857 and at its annual meeting of shareholders in the Spanish port of Santander last month Emilio Botín, the 75-year-old president, said Brazil’s profits would exceed domestic market bank profits for the first time this year. Botín is married to Paloma O’Shea, Marquis d’O’Shea and Santander is in the region of Spain where most Irish people can trace their origins.

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