Latin America helps Santander double Q4 profit

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MADRID (AP) — Spain's Banco Santander SA says its profit more than doubled to 1.06 billion euros ($1.44 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2013 thanks to strong growth in Latin America and lower real estate provisions.

The largest bank by market value in the 18-country eurozone said profit in the October-December period was up from 423 million euros in the same period a year earlier.

Santander said profit for all of 2013 was up 90.5 percent to 4.37 billion euros, compared to 2012.

Santander President Emilio Botin said the bank "is embarking on a period of strong profit growth in the coming years" after several years of strengthening the balance sheet and its capital base.

Despite his optimism, Santander's shares were down 1.8 percent at 6.27 euros.

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