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Spanish giant Santander looks to UK for growth

Spanish financial giant Santander is rumoured to be looking towards the UK for further expansion with the company set to finalise a deal to acquire 318 Royal Bank of Scotland branches early next week. While the fee for the branches has yet to be confirmed it will be substantial although it will also give Santander more exposure to the UK high street and more influence over the UK marketplace.

This comes at a time when the company announced a 10% increase in profits from its UK assets which now include Abbey National, Alliance & Leicester and part of the failed Bradford & Bingley operation. The acquisition of the Royal Bank of Scotland branches could not have been better timed with the company forced to sell these assets by the European Union and Santander left as the only credible bidder after the auction process has ended. It is believed that the company is now looking to spin off its UK assets into a separate operation and we could see a share issue later this year.

As many of the former big names in the UK banking industry continue to attract the wrath of consumers there is a feeling that the Santander name, not very well known in the UK, has escaped the same level of criticism afforded to the likes of Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, etc. Will Santander make good use of this opportunity?

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