Banco Santander has registered net attributable profit of EUR4.44bn in the first half of 2010, a decline of 1.6% compared to EUR4.52bn in the same period of 2009.

Net interest income in the first half of 2010 was EUR14.49bn, an increase of 14.6% compared to EUR12.65bn in the same half in 2009.

After operating costs, net operating income increased by 7% to EUR12.06bn from EUR11.31bn reported for the first half of 2009.

Banco Santander’s net interest margin grew by 15% and income from fees and commissions by 6%, which, after a 30% decline in earnings from financial transactions, led to a nearly 8% increase in gross income to EUR20.87bn.

By geographical areas, Continental Europe generated net attributable profit of EUR2.55bn, a decline of 6%, with the Santander branch network, the main unit, contributing EUR912m, a decrease of 14%. UK profit increased by 11% in pounds to GBP875m, or 14% in euros, to EUR1bn. Attributable profit in America rose 20% to EUR2.16bn. Brazil registered the largest gain, or 35%, and made the largest contribution, EUR1.29bn, followed by Chile, where profit rose 17% to EUR301m and Mexico, where profit rose by 26% to EUR291m.

Businesses in Continental Europe accounted for 43% of the group’s profit, including 22% from Spain, which Latin America accounted for 37%, including 22% from Brazil. The UK accounted for 17% of profit and Sovereign for 3%, after registering a profit in the first half of EUR172m, compared to a loss of EUR26m during the same period of 2009.