Spain's Imperial Ambitions

The strength of the euro could push Spain back into the world prominence it knew after Columbus discovered the New World, Cramer said Thursday on Mad Money.

Spain’s property market fueled the best gross-domestic-product growth in the European Union over the last couple of years, but now the buying power of the euro is turning the country’s focus outward. Cramer said Banco Santander is Spain’s best chance to realize its imperial ambitions.

“It’s a Spanish Armada that offers checking accounts,” he said.

Banco Santander’s tentacles stretch across the globe. The bank has operations in Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy, the U.K., Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and the U.S. And now thanks to the buyout of ABN Amro with Fortis and Royal Bank of Scotland, Banco Santander does business in Brazil and the Netherlands too.

Cramer expects more acquisitions, especially in Latin America, and maybe even in the U.S. thanks to the weak dollar. Banco already owns a piece of Sovereign, so it’s not a stretch to think the Spaniards could swallow the rest. So say hello to healthy growth and a diversified deposit base, which Cramer said is an important goal.

And these takeovers should drive up Banco Santander’s stock just the way the ABN Amro did. But how much? From two times the book value to 2.3 times the book, or $23.55, Cramer said. That’s about a 22% jump from its present price of $19 and change.

Banco Santander also comes with a cushion for a potential fall: a strong and still-growing dividend of 85 cents, or a 4.3% yield.

Cramer thinks Spain is back, and STD is the best way to play its global resurgence.

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