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Spain's Santander launches 7 bln euros rights issue at 4.85 eur/share

MADRID, July 3 (Reuters) - Spain's Banco Santander on Monday launched a 7 billion euros ($7.95 billion) rights issue at a price of 4.85 euros per share, a move it had flagged a month ago when it took over rescued peer Banco Popular for a nominal euro.

It also said its net profit for the first half of the year would be 3.6 billion euros, up 24 percent from last year. ($1 = 0.8800 euros) (Reporting by Jesus Aguado; Editing by Julien Toyer)