What is not to like about Banco Santander’s offer to buy the part of its under-performing Brazil subsidiary that it does not own?

For Santander, the deal looks opportunistic. Santander Brasil has been in the doldrums in recent years. Compared with its listing in October 2009, the shares had lost nearly half their value as of Monday, when they were trading at R$12.74, less than book value.

By buying back these shares using Santander parent stock, the bank gets a bargain while shareholders are being offered a 20 per cent premium to the present market price. With the outlook for the Brazilian economy continuing to look hazy, many minority shareholders will run for the exits. Read more

The answer is a resounding yes if comments this week from Itaú Unibanco and Banco Santander are to be believed.

Itaú, which ranks as Brazil’s largest bank by market value, said on Tuesday that loans in arrears for more than 90 days, a benchmark for delinquencies, fell to 4.2 per cent of its loan book during the first six month of this year. That’s down from the 5.2 per cent reported at the end of the first half last year and is the lowest level since the bank in its current form was created in a merger about four years ago. Read more

Spain’s two leading lenders, Banco Santander and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, have long looked to Latin America for growth – and more recently to repair troubled balance sheets at home.

But while Santander has hitched its fortunes on Brazil — now its biggest market, accounting for 26 per cent of group profits last year — BBVA has focused on building up its operations in Mexico. Just last month it announced plans to funnel $3.5bn into its Mexico business over the next three years, and the country last year accounted for more than one-third of its global profits. Read more

Some interesting nuggets in Santander’s full year earning results on Thursday.

While much of the focus has been on losses stemming from property loans made in its domestic Spanish market, investors would also do well to pay attention to rising bad loans in Latin America, a region that now accounts for half of the group’s total profits. Read more

There were a few nerves jangling at Mexico’s stock exchange last week. One well-publicised reason had to do with the public offering of Santander Mexico, the local arm of the Spanish bank.

The 25 per cent of the company offered to investors raised more than US$4.1bn and was the largest public offering in the history of the exchange, known by its Spanish acronym of BMV. The international portion of the offering, carried out in New York, was over-subscribed five times on an otherwise gloomy day for global stocks. Read more

More than simply a successful transaction for Banco Santander, Wednesday’s listing of the Spanish financial institution’s Mexican arm tells a much wider story of Mexico’s somewhat unexpected emergence as a potential investment hotspot in the coming years. Read more

Banco Santander’s listing of its Mexican subsidiary on Wednesday is likely to provide a welcome jolt for the New York Stock Exchange.

If successful, the IPO – which could see Santander raise as much as $4.3bn via listings in Mexico and NYSE – will be the third-largest in the world this year after Facebook and Japan Airlines.

Alexandre Ibrahim, head of Latin America, Caribbean and Bermuda for NYSE Euronext Listings, believes the Santander listing could just be the tip of the iceberg. Read more

Could Banco Santander’s partial float of its local subsidiary on Mexico’s stock market be the start of a trend? This week, the Spanish-based bank launched a listing of its Mexican arm, which at the top end of its pricing range, would value the Mexican operation at more than US$17bn.

The plan is to list about 25 per cent of the subsidiary – 20 per cent of that on the Mexican stock exchange and the remaining 80 per cent in New York via American Depositary Receipts (ADRs). Read more

The times when Latin America provided the Kingdom of Spain with all the gold and silver it could spend are long over.

But for two of Spain’s largest banks, BBVA and Santander, Latin America anno 2012 increasingly functions the way the continent’s gold and silver mines did more than 400 years ago: as a base of support and defence at a time of insecurity in Spain.  Read more

When an avalanche of Spanish capital turned up on Latin America’s doorstep over the turn of the century, naysayers shuddered at headlines that welcomed the “New Conquistadors”. Latin America seemed to many to be a risky bet for Spanish banks, energy and telecommunications companies by comparison with the comfort zone provided by European markets.

Instead, the steady growth of Latin America has provided welcome relief for Spanish companies from the financial turmoil at home. But in recent weeks troubles in the old country have appeared to clip the wings of the Spanish companies in LatAm. A weakened Spain, indeed, seems to have lost political clout in the region. Read more

Not so long ago, companies would often attribute their growing profits to the strong performance of their Brazilian unit. Now it seems Brazil is to blame for their losses.

Spain’s Santander is due to report its first-quarter earnings before the markets open on Thursday in Madrid, and the results aren’t going to be pretty. According to Bloomberg estimates, net income likely fell about 22 per cent to €1.64bn from €2.11bn a year earlier.

While write-downs on Spanish real estate will have taken their toll, an expected 23 per cent reduction in earnings in the key Brazilian market will also explain the bank’s losses. Read more