December 1, 2001
To make more and more money out of markets that are sinking deeper and deeper into trouble takes a special set of skills. Banco Santander Central Hispano thinks it has these skills in abundance.
After a six-year, $15.7 billion spending spree, Spain's biggest bank has become the biggest in Latin America in terms of assets. Last year it posted net earnings of $1 billion in the region, or 48% of its total. This year, it says Latin America will contribute $1.5 billion, or more than 60% of earnings - this despite Argentina's debt crisis, Brazil edging in the same direction, Chile treading water and Mexico in the doldrums.
So how will Santander do it? Executives are not saying public
The Spanish giant has spent billions of dollars acquiring Latin American assets. But with the stakes so high and global recession to boot, investors are wondering if BSCH's strategy will pay off.