Quarterly profits fall at Santander

Santander UK's profits fell 22 per cent in the first quarter, but it predicted a steady improvement in its business over the rest of the year yesterday, paving the way to a much-delayed share sale by its Spanish parent in 2015.

Ana Botin, its chief executive, said: "I expect greater stability in our operating environment in the context of the UK economy which remains subdued."

Santander UK's pre-tax profits fell 22 per cent to £282m in the three months to March, largely reflecting a drop in net interest income of 12 per cent to £692m.

The parent bank, Santander, reported a 26 per cent fall in after-tax profits at £1.2bn, having been dragged down not just by the UK business but also by an 18 per cent fall in Latin American earnings.