ICICI Bank posts over two-fold rise in Q3 profit at ₹4,670 crore

The bank has added 400 branches during the fiscal year to take its total network to 5,275, and added 13,000 people.

ICICI Bank on Saturday reported an over two-fold rise in its consolidated net profit at ₹4,670 crore for the December quarter, helped largely by the Essar Steel recovery and a jump in its core income.

The Mumbai-headquartered bank, the country’s second biggest private sector lender, had posted a consolidated net profit of ₹1,874.33 crore in the corresponding three months of the previous fiscal.

On standalone basis, its net profit jumped to ₹4,146 crore during the December 2019 quarter from ₹1,605 crore in the year-ago period.

Its core net interest income grew 24 % to ₹8,545 crore on a 16% domestic advances growth and a 0.37% expansion in net interest margin to 3.77%.

Other income growth was 18.77% to ₹4,043 crore, with the core fee income increasing 17%, the bank said.

Gross slippages came at ₹4,363 crore for the reporting quarter, highest during the fiscal year, but the recoveries from assets like Essar Steel and a ₹2,000 crore write-off ensured that the same was down on a net basis.

Its president Sandeep Batra said “two well-rated accounts — a troubled broking company and a south-based industrial group — led to the spike in slippages during the quarter, along with Kisan Credit Card loans which is a fallout of the farm loan waivers.”

Without offering any numbers or an outlook on asset quality, he said the exposure to the broking company has been fully provided for, while the same for the industrial company has been done “prudently”.

Its standalone provisions came at ₹2,083 crore, down 51% from the year-ago period.

Gross non-performing assets ratio was at 5.95% as against 7.75% in the year-ago period.

Its overall recoveries, upgrades and deletions from the NPA book was at ₹4,088 crore and the bank did not divulge the benefit on the Essar Steel recovery.

Just like its smaller peer Axis Bank, the bank has also classified an exposure to a telco as below investment grade, which led to the increase in the overall BB and below book to ₹17,403 crore after two consecutive quarters of a reduction.

Its overall exposure to the sector has been stable at 1.8% and includes two top companies, he said, adding no extra provision has been taken on account of this.

Mr. Batra said the bank’s core operating profit excluding the impact of the benefit was up 23% at ₹7,017 crore, seeking to drive the point of a healthy overall growth for the bank.

From an asset growth perspective, loans to small and medium enterprises grew 36 %, corporate advances were up 12% while retail with 19 % expansion contributed to the major share.

The bank is happy with the performance of the unsecured book and continues to grow the same, Mr. Batra said, adding that it now contributes 9% of the assets. The gross NPAs from retail grew to 2.14%, as compared to 2% level in the quarter-ago period.

The corporate loan growth is coming from across sectors, and includes term loans as well, he said, adding that the bank is following a strategy of sticking to well rated borrowers as part of its risk calibrated growth approach.

The bank has added 400 branches during the fiscal year to take its total network to 5,275, and added 13,000 people mainly focused on frontline sales.

Share of the low-cost current and savings account balances slipped to 45 % level during the quarter, but Batra explained that the bank is focusing more on retail term deposits which have grown handsomely.

Overall capital adequacy stood at 16.5% as on December 31, 2019, with the core tier-I at 14.98%.

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