Spanish takeover will mean 3,000 Abbey job cuts

Around 3,000 jobs will be lost at Abbey National if the UK bank’s takeover by Spain’s Santander Central Hispano (SCH) goes ahead, it emerged today.

Around 3,000 jobs will be lost at Abbey National if the UK bank’s takeover by Spain’s Santander Central Hispano (SCH) goes ahead, it emerged today.

The proposed redundancies, which is less than some reports had forecast, should save €450m in the three years following completion of the £8.2bn (€12.2bn) takeover, which was first announced last month.

SCH also said it would award Abbey employees 100 Santander shares – currently trading at 7.94 euros each – as part of the acquisition.

SCH announced the jobs total following a meeting with Abbey National's recognised trade union ANGU.

The Spanish company also gave assurances that employees’ existing pension entitlements would be safeguarded.

Despite outlining its planned cost savings, SCH still faces potential hurdles to successfully seeing though the offer, including a possible rival bid by Halifax and Bank of Scotland owner HBOS.

HBOS has already said it is considering its position on Abbey, with a final decision on whether to bid likely to be made within the next month.

Analysts expect a move by HBOS to generate far more job cuts as around 70% of Abbey’s 741 branches are within a quarter of a mile of an HBOS outlet.

SCH does not have a branch network in the UK and will instead seek efficiencies through improvements to IT systems. Abbey currently has a 26,000-strong workforce.

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