Spanish banking titan Santander reported on Thursday a third-quarter profit plunge as it wrote down billions of euros in assets linked to a 2008 property market collapse. Santander, the largest bank in the eurozone by market capital, said net profit dived to just 100 million euros ($130 million) in the third quarter from 1.8 billion euros a year earlier. Net banking income rose 2.93 percent to 7.495 billion euros. Investors seemed to take comfort in the cleaner balance sheet, however, sending Santander shares up 0.71 percent to 5.82 euros in early trade on the Madrid stock market. Over the first nine months of this year, the bank said net profit slumped 66 percent to 1.80 billion euros. The results so far this year were hit by the 14.5-billion-euro cost of making provisions against bad loans and against real estate exposure in Spain. If the cost of those provisions is stripped out, Santander said it would have reported a net profit of 18.2 billion euros. \"The bank\'s capacity to generate profit enables us to set aside hefty real estate provisions in Spain in 2012 and significantly increase non-performing loan coverage,\" bank chairman Emilio Botin said in a statement. Santander said 50 percent of the group profit in the first nine months of 2012 came from Latin America and 28 percent from continental Europe, with Spain alone accounting for 16 percent. Britain was responsible for 13 percent of the profit and the United States nine percent.