9 June 2017 – Voz Pópuli
On Wednesday, the President of Banco Santander, Ana Botín (pictured above), said that the purchase of Banco Popular, announced this week, will give “certainty and stability” to the Spanish financial sector. Moreover, she denied reports that she had been put under any kind of pressure to intervene in the process.
At a press conference to explain the operation, which was signed at 7:00 on Wednesday morning, Ana Botín said that the operation was “the best option for providing continuity to such an important entity in the sector”, such as Popular.
She also highlighted that it is the first time that an entity has been intervened, due to a European mandate, without the contribution of any public money and she made it clear that “taxpayers will not incur any costs”.
The process was carried out through an auction, in which several entities reportedly submitted bids. Santander submitted its bid and it was accepted, explained the entity, before adding that it does not have any information about the other offers made.
Ana Botín sought to reassure Popular’s customers and employees, reminding them that Santander “has experience in this kind of operation”.
She said that the integration process “will take time” and that meanwhile, Popular’s customers do not have anything to worry about, because “nothing will change for them”. They will continue to be served by the same people in the same branches.
According to the President, the merger of the two banks will be good “for Spain and for Europe, and will contribute to the growth of the Spanish economy”.
She also explained that the entity will undertake a €7,000 million capital increase in a month’s time and will recognise provisions amounting to €7,900 million, of which €7,200 million will be allocated to the real estate sector, which will see its asset coverage ratio rise from 45% to 67%.
Santander’s intention is to get rid of, at least, half of Popular’s real estate assets in 18 months.
The head of Santander España, Rami Abhoukair, took the opportunity to send a message of calm to all of Popular’s employees and customers and to reassure them that from now on they form part of Santander.
Meanwhile, Botín said that together Santander and Popular “will constitute the best bank in Spain” and both teams will do a great job.
Original story: Voz Pópuli
Translation: Carmel Drake