Santander: Ana Botín’s whirlwind start
Ana Botín has revamped the board of Santander, appointed a new management team and overseen a large and market-testing equity raise that reverses the capital-light policy of her father. Four months into the job, the new executive chairman now has the biggest challenge of all in her sights: achieving strong growth in a banking sector notable for its almost total absence
Ana is a very determined and straightforward person who sees things rather in black and white,” says a close adviser to Santander’s executive chairman. “When she decides to do something, she doesn’t hang around.” She certainly hasn’t. On January 8, Ana Botín gave the green light to Santander’s issuance of €7.5 billion of new share capital in a ballsy accelerated bookbuild, even as nervous equity investors struggled to absorb the implications of the still falling oil price for global growth and European deflation. Volatile stock markets were trending down at the start of 2015 and nerves in Europe were stretched further by the impending Greek election, renewed talk off possible euro break-up and fears that the ECB has got behind the curve on quantitative easing.
The first full business week of January is traditionally the preserve of highly-rated sovereign and supranational bond issuers launching low-risk debt capital markets deals, not issuers from an out-of-favour sector launching equity in record size.
Santander’s €7.5 billion deal, equating to $8.9 billion, was the largest accelerated offering on record in the European equity capital markets.