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Spanish banking conquistador seeks further acquisitions

10th April 2006
By Stephen McNamara

Spain's largest bank, Banco Santander, is once again in the market for overseas buyouts, news reports have suggested.

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Less than two years after acquiring UK high street lender Abbey, Santander is back in the market to buy with the UK high on its agenda. According to the Financial Times, chairman Emilio Botin is keen to make further purchases in the UK financial services market to support and compliment the already acquired Abbey.

The giant Spanish bank is also believed to be considering options in Ireland, continental Europe and the US, where it recently made significant purchases. Two potential European targets are believed to be Alliance & Leicester and Allied Irish Bank.

While shareholders will likely benefit from such interest, staff at the two potential target banks may be concerned about the Spanish interests considering the raft of job cuts imposed on Abbey following its purchase by the group.

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