Axis Bank net rises 25% on lower base

Private sector lender Axis Bank reported a 25% year-on-year growth in net profit to ₹726.4 crore in the quarter ended December 31, mainly due to a lower base and lower provisions for bad loans. In the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, the lender reported a whopping 73% decline in its net profit to ₹580 crore due to higher provisions.

While the bank reported 9% growth in net interest income to ₹4,732 crore, non-interest income fell 24% to ₹2,593 crore due to lower trading gains that fell to about ₹200 crore from ₹1,595 crore.

“In a declining rate environment you have a lot more ability to book trading gains. But in Q3 this time, you saw an environment where the g-sec [government security] yields went up by about 70 bps. This was anticipated,” Jairam Sridharan, CFO, Axis Bank, told The Hindu.

The lender reported a bad loan provision of ₹2,811 crore as compared with ₹3,796.

‘Slippages to stabilise’

Asset quality improved sequentially with fresh slippages falling by abut 50%. “We had, for a few quarters, slippages in the ₹4,000 crore range,” he said.

“Last quarter, because of the RBI report on divergence, slippages went up to ₹8,800 crore. We are back to the ₹4,000 crore -₹4,500 crore kind of range. I do not expect an increase in that number going forward,” Mr. Sridharan said.

The gross NPA ratio of the bank at the end of December was 5.28% compared with 5.9% in the previous quarter and 5.22% a year earlier.

The bank also saw its net interest margin fall 5 bps in the quarter to 3.38%.

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“We are starting to believe that margins have bottomed out. Next quarter [Jan-Mar], either you should see stability or improvement,” he said.