Wednesday, June 09, 2010


...a very curious move given the well-publicized difficulties with the Spanish banking system.

Buying a large amount of U.S. dollar deposits based in Mexico? I am at a loss to explain this buy-back.

June 9 (Bloomberg) -- Banco Santander SA, Spain’s largest bank, agreed to pay $2.5 billion in cash to buy a stake in its Mexican unit that it sold to Bank of America Corp. in 2003.

The purchase of Bank of America’s 24.9 percent holding will lift Santander’s ownership of the Mexican division to almost 100 percent, the bank said in a statement today. The acquisition will increase earnings per share by 1.3 percent in the first year, the Santander, Spain-based bank estimated.

Santander is reversing the stake sale made seven years ago even as concerns about Spain’s public finances drag on the company’s shares. Bank of America is selling less than a month after announcing plans to shed its stake in Brazilian lender Itau Unibanco Holding SA as it strives to boost capital.

“If they have the wherewithal at Santander to make this kind of move, it does show some kind of confidence that they are not in the kind of difficulty that the price of their shares implies at the moment,” said Kevin Lilley, a fund manager at Royal London Asset Management, which oversees about 1.25 billion euros ($1.5 billion) in continental European stocks, including Santander.

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