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ICICI Bank Fourth-quarter Net Profit Rises Less Than Expected

ICICI Bank Ltd, India's third-biggest lender by assets, reported a smaller-than-expected rise in fourth-quarter net profit as bad loans grew

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ICICI Bank Ltd, India's third-biggest lender by assets, reported a smaller-than-expected rise in fourth-quarter net profit as bad loans grew.

Indian banks have seen their bad loans surge in the past year or so after an asset quality review ordered by the central bank as part of a clean-up exercise. The regulator continues to tighten rules around sour assets, which hit a record $150 billion in December.

ICICI, which has the highest bad loans among private sector lenders, said bad loan additions in the March quarter were "elevated" by one borrower in the cement sector and that it expected part of that loan to be upgraded on the conclusion of a pending deal.

Chief Executive Chanda Kochhar told reporters on a conference call after the results that she expected bad loan additions in the current financial year to be "significantly lower" than in the last financial year to the end of March.

Its standalone net profit nearly tripled to Rs 2,025 crore ($315.7 million) for the three months to March 31, from Rs 702 crore reported a year earlier, the Mumbai-based lender said on Wednesday (May 03).

Analysts on average had expected a net profit of Rs 2,204 crore, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The bank's gross bad loans as a percentage of total loans rose to 7.89 per cent as of end-March, from 7.2 per cent at the end of December and 5.21 per cent a year earlier.

Provisions, including for bad loans, were lower at Rs 2,898 crore in the March quarter from Rs 3,326 crore a year ago.

Domestic loans in the quarter grew 14 per cent from a year earlier, with loans to individuals rising at a faster rate of 19 per cent.

Shares in ICICI Bank fell about 1 per cent ahead of the earnings release.

(Reuters)


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