Santander today reported a 10% fall in first-quarter net profit from a year earlier as a solid performance in Latin America failed to offset weakness in Britain and Poland.

The euro zone's biggest bank by market value reported a net profit of €1.84 billion compared to forecasts of €1.88 billion in a Reuters poll. 

Steady growth in Latin America business volumes, where it makes 45% of its earnings, was not enough to offset charges of €108m in Britain and Poland as part of its ongoing cost cuts involving branch closures in those countries. 

Earlier in April, Santander offered to take full control of its Mexican business as Spanish banks chase potentially higher returns in Latin America. 

The move is part of efforts to focus on emerging economies while cutting costs to counter squeezed margins in mature European markets. 

Overall, the bank's net interest income, a measure of earnings on loans minus deposit costs, was €8.68 billion, up around 3% from a year ago but down 4% against the previous quarter. 

Analysts had expected NII to come in at €8.77 billion. 

Santander finished the first quarter with core tier-1 capital ratio of 11.25% compared to 11.3% at the end of December.