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Santander expects over 6 billion euros in dividends, buybacks on solid 2024 start

Santander expects over 6 billion euros in dividends, buybacks on solid 2024 start

By Jesús Aguado

MADRID (Reuters) -Spain’s Santander said on Friday it expected to pay more than 6 billion euros ($6.50 billion) in dividends and share buybacks against 2024 results as part of its current dividend policy of distributing half of its earnings to shareholders.

The new remuneration guidance implies that the euro zone’s second-biggest bank by market value would end 2024 with a net profit in excess of 12 billion euros.

Santander has a 50% pay-out policy or proportion of earnings distributed to shareholders, which it splits in equal parts in cash dividends and ordinary share buybacks.

By 0806 GMT, shares in Santander rose 0.2% while Spain’s leading blue chip index was flat.

The lender’s executive chair Ana Botin is set to tell shareholders at its annual meeting on Friday that the bank expects to reach a 16% return on tangible equity (ROTE), a measure of profitability, in the first quarter, including the annualised impact of the banking tax in Spain.

“(The year) 2024 has started with excellent business and commercial dynamics. We continue growing the number of customers we serve and will increase our income around 9% year-on-year (in current euros) in the first quarter as a result,” Botin said in a statement.

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Santander has relied in the past on Latin America for revenue growth but has recently also benefitted from higher European interest rates, particularly in Spain.

Botin added she was “very confident” that the bank would deliver a “considerably better performance” in 2024 than 2023, which was already a record year, and will meet our 2024 targets.”

Santander was targeting higher profitability this year after 2023 net profit rose 15% to a record 11.08 billion euros as revenues climbed 10.5%. The higher profit helped lift the bank’s ROTE to 15.06% by the end of 2023 from 13.37% in 2022.

Shareholders are expected to approve a total remuneration of 5.5 billion euros against its record 2023 results.

($1 = 0.9235 euros)

(Reporting by Jesús Aguado; Editing by Emma Pinedo and Jacqueline Wong)


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