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Santander shows the way forward

Spanish financial giant Santander, the parent company of Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley, has revealed earnings of £1.16 billion between July and September as the company looks to make money out of a difficult financial environment. The well timed acquisitions of Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley allowed the company to increase its exposure to the UK market at a time of maximum stress and maximum opportunity.

While the company itself has not escaped the recession there is no doubt that it's well financed balance sheet has allowed the company to grow at a time when competitors have been looking to consolidate or scale down their operations. The company is now well positioned in the UK, and a number of other markets, and would appear to be looking towards acquiring other financial operations which have perhaps felt the pain of the economic downturn more than most.

Once the UK stock market, the economy and the financial markets have settled down we will then see the "vultures" of the worldwide financial industry looking to pick off the best pieces at the lowest prices. Quite who will fall into this bracket and what will happen in the medium to longer term remains to be seen.

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