Santander posts 10 pct profit rise in Q1 on Brazilian strength

MADRID, April 24 (Reuters) - Banco Santander opened Spain’s bank reporting season on Tuesday with a 10 percent rise in first-quarter net profit from a year earlier, beating analysts’ forecasts and helped by strong business in its largest market Brazil.

Santander, the euro zone’s biggest bank by market value, reported net profit of 2.05 billion euros ($2.5 billion) in the first three months of the year against forecasts of 2.01 billion euros in a Reuters poll.

Net interest income, a measure of earnings on loans minus deposit costs, was 8.45 billion euros, up 0.6 percent from a year ago. Analysts expected NII to come in at 8.49 billion. In Brazil, where it makes about 26 percent of its profits, net profit improved 7 percent on the year.

$1 = 0.8191 euros Reporting By Jesús Aguado; editing by Paul Day