Pedestrians walks past signage for automated teller machines outside an ICICI Bank branch (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Q2 Results: ICICI Bank Returns To Profitability As Provisions Fall

ICICI Bank Ltd. returned to profitability in the July-September quarter due to lower provisioning for bad loans and higher interest income.

The private lender reported a Rs 909-crore profit, about 56 percent lower than in the same quarter last year, according to its stock exchange filing. Analysts tracked by Bloomberg had expected a profit of Rs 950 crore. In previous quarter ended June, ICICI Bank had reported its first loss at least since 2001 as it set aside more money to cover for bad loans.

Net interest income, or the core income of the bank, rose 12.4 percent to Rs 6,418 crore in the three months to September. That was higher than the estimated Rs 6,163 crore.

ICICI Bank’s asset quality also improved during the quarter. Gross non performing loans as a ratio to the total advances fell 35 basis points sequentially to 9.3 percent. Net NPA ratio also fell to 4.05 percent from the previous quarter’s 4.67 percent . Provisions stood at Rs 3,994 crore, nearly 33 percent lower than the April-June period.

  • Net interest margin stood at 3.33 percent compared with 3.24 percent last quarter.
  • Loan book grew 13 percent, an 11-quarter high, over the last year.
  • Retail loans grew 20 percent year-on-year and formed about 57 percent of its total loan portfolio.
  • Provision coverage ratio rose 330 basis points 69.4 percent.

India’s second-largest lender became profitable in a turbulent quarter as its former Chief Executive Officer Chanda Kochhar was on leave pending a probe into allegations of impropriety into loans granted to the Videocon Group. Kochhar finally decided to quit earlier this month, with Chief Financial Officer Sandeep Bakshi taking over as her successor. Her departure came as a relief to investors with uncertainty about the investigation now having limited impact on the bank itself.

That also gives Bakshi a chance to adopt a more measured approach towards lending, especially for project financing, a move that had started even under Kochhar. “His strategy is simple: focus on operating profits and avoid lumpy corporate exposures,” Macquarie had said in a prior report earlier this month.

ICICI Bank’s stock closed 1.45 percent lower ahead of the results announcement. It returned about 11 percent in the July-September period, outperforming the benchmark NSE Nifty Bank index that fell 4.72 percent during the period.