Spain's Santander today said it was on track to meet its 2022 profitability target due to a solid business performance mainly in its American markets and a recovery in Europe.

Despite soaring energy prices felt predominantly in Europe due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the lender reiterated its underlying return on tangible equity ratio target of above 13% this year.

It had finished 2021 with an underlying ROTE of 12.73%.

Santander's diversification overseas, especially in Latin America, has helped the bank cope with tough conditions for lenders in Europe in the years since the financial crisis.

"In the first quarter of 2022, the commercial activity has remained strong with revenues in line with the last quarter and new lending returning to prepandemic levels, increasing by an estimated 8% year-on-year," Santander Chairman Ana Botin said.

Though Santander said it does not have a presence in Russia or in the Ukraine and its direct exposure is limited to €80m, the conflict could be damaging through indirect impacts, especially high energy prices on some of its customers.