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Santander's Argentine operations book 36.6% growth in Q1 profit

Banco SantanderSA's Argentine operations, which include Banco Santander Río SA, booked an attributable profit of€66.8 billion in the first quarter of 2016, up 36.6% from a year earlier.

The company attributed the results to strong interest incomeand net fees growth, according to its April 27 presentation materials. Net interestincome rose to €158 million from €136 million a year ago, mainly on the back ofvolume growth and lower credit spreads. Net fees, meanwhile, surged 36% to €107million, which Santander attributed to growth in insurance and checks.

Operating costs, meanwhile, grew 37% year over year to €180 millionas it was affected by the upcoming collective salary agreement, the opening of newbranches and technology investments.

Loans totaled €5.2 billion, 44.2% higher fromthe year-ago period, as the company saw growth in commercial loans, especially withinthe SME and corporate sectors. Loans to companies jumped by 50% to €2.88 billion,with the SME segment increasing by 56% to €734 million and corporate loans moving68% higher to €1.13 billion. Individual loans, meanwhile, rose by 38% to €2.35 billion.

The company posted net loan-loss provisions of €23 million inthe quarter, increasing 28% year over year, but down 32% from the linked quarter.

Deposits came to €7.4 billion, expanding 63.3% due to stronggrowth in time and savings deposits.