The UK is now Santander’s biggest market

<p>One-fifth of the Spanish bank’s profits come from the UK market.</p>

Spanish bank Santander's most profitable market is the UK, it has emerged, with recent figures showing that one-fifth of the bank's profits during the first half of 2015 came from Britain. 

In addition, the company has seen pre-tax profits in the UK rise from £74 million to £928 million. Revenues were also up five per cent.

Commenting on the results, chief executive of Santander UK, Nathan Bostock, said that the company had a positive outlook but also warned that new charges in chancellor George Osborne's summer budget could have an impact on future performance.

"We are well placed to benefit from the positive economic outlook, although future earnings will be impacted by the bank corporation tax surcharge announced in the recent UK budget," he explained.

"Nevertheless, I am confident that we can continue to grow the business, whilst maintaining balance sheet strength," he added.

On Thursday (July 30th), Jose Garcia Cantera, Santander's chief financial officer, warned that higher UK tax rates and the bank levy would result in a £500m hit to the UK operations by 2020.

When asked about whether the UK business could float in the near future, Mr Bostock said it would be unlikely in the next couple of years.

During the second quarter, UK lending rose nearly three per cent. The strong pound and an increased focus on business loans also benefited the bank overall.

Santander has also recently taken over the sponsorship of London's bicycles for hire scheme from Barclays. The seven-year sponsorship cost nearly £44 million.

Beyond the UK

Overall, the bank's attributable profits rise by almost a quarter (24 per cent) to €3.24 billion (£2.28 billion). At the pre-tax level, however, the results were flat at €2.99 billion.

Spain accounted for 16 per cent of the company's profits. Europe accounted for 54 per cent.

In Spain, profits were up 50 per cent to €771 million. This was despite a dip in revenues as charges against bad debts has dropped. 

Santander's Brazilian operation saw profits rise by nine per cent to €1 billion – this was 20 per cent of overall profit.

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