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Spanish Bank Santander First-Quarter Profit up 21%

Banco Santander Central Hispano, part of a consortium bidding for Dutch bank ABN Amro, reported Friday that its first-quarter net profit rose 21% with help from strong volume generation in Europe and Latin America.

Spain's largest bank by market value said net profit rose to 1.8 billion euros ($2.45 billion) for the quarter, up from 1.49 billion euros in the same period a year ago. Net interest income rose 20% to 3.51 billion euros ($4.77 billion).

Santander shares were down 0.8% to 13.42 euros ($18.25) in Madrid trading.

The bank is part of a consortium led by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group that is planning a public offer of 39 euros ($53.02) a share -- a total of about 72 billion euros ($97.89 billion) -- for ABN Amro Holding. The move is aimed at topping an all-share, 67 billion euros ($91.09 billion) agreed offer from Barclays.

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