Sabadell set to speed up cost cutting at Britain's TSB
By Jesús Aguado and Emma Pinedo
MADRID, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Spain's Banco Sabadell SABE.MC plans to speed up its cost cutting plan at British arm TSB to complete it in two years rather than three, Chief Executive Jaime Guardiola said on Monday.
At the end of September, TSB announced it would close 164 branches, a third of the total, and cut around 900 jobs as lenders grapple with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"In the UK, we will likely bring forward the cost reduction plan (...) that was intended to be achieved in three years to two years, and complete the whole reduction process in 2020 and 2021," Guardiola told a financial event hosted by Spanish newspaper Expansion and consulting company KPMG.
Guardiola expected to provide more details on cost cutting at Sabadell when the bank releases its quarterly earnings at the end of this month.
Spanish banks have gone abroad in search of higher revenues, though Sabadell's 2015 purchase of TSB has been marred by major technology glitches.
The impact of the pandemic has also put the bank under more pressure to consolidate while facing rising bad loans and low interest rates.
Against this backdrop, sources told Reuters last month that Sabadell held informal talks about a possible tie-up, including with BBVA BBVA.MC and Santander SAN.MC, though on Monday Sabadell said it was focused on its own project of reducing costs.
Since the beginning of the year, shares in Sabadell have plunged more than 70%, becoming the worst-performing banking stock on the Ibex-35 .IBEX.
On Monday, the stock was down 1.2%, while the Ibex-35 .IBEX was up 0.3%.
(Reporting by Jesús Aguado and Emma Pinedo; editing by Andrei Khalip and Mark Potter)
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