Spaniards home in on Abbey

Spanish bank Santander Central Hispano today pledged to give up its two boardroom seats at Royal Bank of Scotland if it lands Abbey National.

Spanish bank Santander Central Hispano today pledged to give up its two boardroom seats at Royal Bank of Scotland if it lands Abbey National.

SCH is also in the process of halving its stake in RBS to 2.54% as it moves to ensure its relationship with the Edinburgh-based bank does not cause its takeover to be mired by competition complaints from other UK banks. The sale of up to 79 million RBS shares could raise as much as £1.24bn (€1.8bn).

Emilio Botin, chairman of SCH, said it would be “inappropriate” for the two banks to maintain cross-directorships in the event of the Abbey takeover.

As well as an end to board membership, SCH said it would cease any special arrangements with regard to joint ventures and commercial co-operation.

Mr Botin said the sale of the shares would also enhance SCH’s “capital flexibility” ahead of the group’s £8.5bn (€12.4bn) takeover.

He added: “We have enjoyed a strategic alliance with RBS for more than 15 years but, as has been the case for some time, the size of our respective cross shareholdings are no longer critical to our relationship.”

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