By Charles Penty
June 21 (Bloomberg) -- Banco Santander SA, Spain's biggest bank, forecast profit will surpass 10 billion euros ($15.6 billion) in 2008, a record, as growth in Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America offsets an economic slowdown in its home market.
``Banco Santander has shown its considerable strength in the face of the abrupt change in financial markets,'' Chairman Emilio Botin, 73, told shareholders today at the bank's annual meeting in Santander, Spain. Santander earned 9.06 billion euros in 2007, or 8.11 billion euros before extraordinary items.
Santander, which makes about 80 percent of its profit from retail banking, has sidestepped much of the collapse in the U.S. subprime mortgage market that so far has caused almost $400 billion in losses. Santander is doubling its presence in Brazil with the acquisition of ABN Amro Holding NV's bank and Botin said today he expects Latin American profit to increase 20 percent this year in dollar terms.
Santander has ``performed well in this environment and that's admirable,'' said Peter Braendle, a fund manager who helps manage about $60 billion at Swisscanto Asset Management AG in Zurich. ``But make no mistake -- they're facing many challenges.''
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** Apologies once again for the lacking analysis in the past two days of posting, i'm traveling at the moment and unable to spend much time at the computer. Will make up for in the days to come!