Banco Santander today posted a 3% decline in second-quarter net profit from a year earlier after being hit by restructuring costs of €300m due mainly to the integration of Banco Popular. 

Santander - which took over the troubled Spanish lender in June of 2017 - reported a net profit of €1.7 billion in the three months from April to June. 

Analysts had expected net profit to come in at €1.65 billion, according to a Reuters poll. 

Not including restructuring costs, underlying net profit in the quarter was up 14%, boosted by a solid performance in its largest market, Brazil. 

Santander has said it expects total restructuring costs of around €1.3 billion related to the Popular deal.

Net interest income, a measure of earnings on loans minus deposit costs, was €8.47 billion, down 1.5% from the second quarter of last year but up just 0.3% against the previous quarter.

Analysts had forecast a NII of €8.4 billion.

Like its European rivals, Santander is struggling to lift earnings from loans in Spain with interest rates hovering at historic lows and rising competition eroding margins.

In Brazil, where the bank makes more than a quarter of its profits, net profit rose 6.1 percent from a year ago, boosted by solid growth in business volumes.

The lender was confident of achieving its 2018 goals and those laid out in its three-year plan, Santander Chairman Ana Botin said in a press release. 

Santander ended the second quarter with a fully-loaded core capital ratio, a closely watched measure of a bank's strength, of 10.8%, compared with 11% in the previous quarter.