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Santander Brasil is set to deliver its best results ever, says CEO Rial

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·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: Santander Brasil SA's CEO, Rial, speaks during an interview with Reuters in Sao Paulo
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By Carolina Mandl

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Banco Santander Brasil SA is set to post its best full-year profit in history this year, Chief Executive Sergio Rial said on Wednesday, as he prepares to pass the baton and become chairman next year.

Santander Brasil nearly doubled its quarterly profit from a year earlier and recurring second-quarter net income came in at a record 4.171 billion reais ($806.93 million), 4.8% above an analysts' estimate compiled by Refinitiv.

Rial has been pushing to fend off financial startups and win new customers for the bank, which added 2.2 million clients in the last 12 months.

"Santander will deliver its strongest results in history this year," Rial told analysts and reporters on a conference call.

Despite the planned change in management, Rial said the bank will maintain its retail-focused strategy. Mario Leao, vice president of corporate banking, will become CEO in January.

The strategy has helped Santander Brasil's fee income growth, which jumped 26.8% from a year earlier, mainly driven by credit cards and insurance.

"We expect a smooth transition considering the lead time ahead of the change and the fact Mr. Rial will hold the Chairman position at Santander Brasil," analysts at Credit Suisse wrote in a note to clients.

Since he took the helm of Santander Brasil nearly six years ago, Rial has been assuming more global positions in Spain's Banco Santander SA. In 2019, he became head of the bank in South America and last year joined the group's board as a director.

He said there is no discussion about a new global role, but added he will be more involved in the bank's payments strategy. Last year, Santander grouped its consumer, merchant and trade payments businesses into "PagoNxt" to build a financial technology brand distinct from its banking core.

($1 = 5.1690 reais)

(Reporting by Carolina Mandl in Sao Paulo; Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Matthew Lewis)