Abbey announces return to profit

28 February 2005
Abbey has revealed a return to profit for the first time in three years following a major takeover and restructuring.

The former Abbey National building society taken over by Spain's Banco Santander Central Hispano last autumn, has seen a pre-tax profit of £273 million.

This is a significant turnaround for Abbey, which lost £686 million in 2003.

The high profit in 2004 also comes despite restructuring costs of £564 million.

Total customer loans were up four per cent to £94.3 billion but mortgage lending was down 14 per cent to £25 billion.

The sale of assets, including the wholesale banking arm which had been making a loss, aided the return to profit.

"This business has huge potential. We can now realise this using Santander's strength and placing a strong emphasis on execution," Abbey chief executive Francisco Gomez-Roldan told ShareCast.

Abbey's new owners plan to boost the number of staff in high street branches.

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