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ECONOMY

Barcelona to host Mobile World Congress until 2030

The Mobile World Congress, the telecom industry's biggest annual gathering, will be held in Barcelona until 2030, extending its current contract by six years, organisers said Monday.

barcelona world mobile congress
The 2022 edition, which returned to its normal format, drew 61,000 participants to Barcelona. Photo: Pere Jurado/Unsplash

The event, which draws more than 100,000 people to Barcelona, has been held in Spain’s second largest city since 2006.

The existing agreement between the GSMA association that hosts the congress and local authorities ran until 2024.

“We are thrilled to announce that MWC will remain in Barcelona through to 2030,” said GSMA director general Mats Granryd said in a statement.

“Barcelona is so intertwined in the MWC experience, it’s hard for me to think about one and not the other,” he added.

The gathering was one of the first events to be cancelled in 2020 as Covid-19 started to sweep across the world.

A scaled back edition was held in 2021 in June instead of February as is usually the case, with many events staged online.

The 2022 edition, which returned to its normal format, drew 61,000 participants, far less than the over 100,000 who attended in 2019 before the pandemic hit.

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ECONOMY

Banco Santander posts record profit as rates rise

Spanish banking giant Banco Santander reported on Thursday record profits for 2022, as higher interest rates boosted its earnings and offset the costs from soaring inflation.

Banco Santander posts record profit as rates rise

The bank posted an annual net profit of €9.6 billion, up 18 percent from 2021 and higher than forecast by analysts polled by financial data firm FactSet.

“2022 was another strong year for Santander as we made further progress in growing our customer base profitably, while maintaining a rock-solid balancesheet,” Banco Santander head Ana Botin said.

Central banks have hiked interest rates worldwide in an effort to tamerunaway inflation, which jumped after economies emerged from Covidrestrictions, and surged higher still after Russia invaded Ukraine last year.

Botin said central banks and governments are expected to continue to focuson bringing down inflation this year.

“Our team has proven experience in navigating these conditions successfullyand we expect revenue growth will continue to offset cost inflation pressuresand the anticipated increase in cost of risk,” she said.

READ ALSO: Spain to slap windfall taxes on banks, energy firms

The bank, which has a strong presence in Europe and Latin America, added seven million new clients last year, bringing its worldwide total to 160 million.

Its net interest income, the equivalent of its revenue, rose 16 percent to reach €38.6 billion, slightly higher than forecast by FactSet.

The bank confirmed that shareholders would receive a payout of around 40 percent of the group’s underlying profit, divided equally between cashdividends and share buybacks.

Spain’s left-wing government plans to impose a temporary windfall tax on big banks in 2023 and 2024 to finance measures aimed at helping households cope with higher prices.

The measure is expected to add €1.5 billion to the state budget this year and a similar amount in 2024.

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