Abbey National’s army of small shareholders were today given an easier route to selling shares in the company’s proposed new Spanish owner.
Santander Central Hispano (SCH) said it would allow Abbey investors with 2,000 or fewer shares and who live in the UK to use its free share dealing facility without the need to complete the Spanish tax form 210.
The move comes ahead of Thursday’s vote by Abbey National shareholders on SCH’s £9bn (€13bn) cash-and-shares takeover of the UK high street giant.
The Spanish bank described the move, which is being achieved through a collective tax filing, as a “significant simplification of the documentation”.
SCH executive vice president Juan Inciarte said: “We hope that Abbey shareholders will become long term holders of Banco Santander shares.
“However, I am pleased with the progress we’ve made in simplifying the process for those Abbey shareholders who choose to make use of the free share dealing facility that we are providing to them.”
Abbey National has around 1.7 million small shareholders who received windfall shares when it converted from a building society in 1989.
Members received up to 100 free shares if they held savings with the group and up to 100 if they had a mortgage with it, giving a maximum of 200 windfall shares per person.