Axis Bank Net Falls 1%, Misses St View
Earnings from retail lending double; treasury, corporate numbers disappoint KEEPING A WATCH
Mumbai: Axis Bank, India’s third-largest private sector lender by assets, said net profit for the March quarter shrank 1% from a year earlier, falling short of expectations as provisions for bad loans ate into profits, amid a future that looks as bleak as the past quarter.
The bank said net profit fell to ₹ 2,154 crore from ₹ 2,181 crore a year ago, boosted by more than doubling of earnings from retail lending even as its treasury and cor porate division faltered. Bloomberg poll of analyst estimates showed profits could be ₹ 2,330 crore. “The operating environment during Q4 was tough and the investment climate hasn’t changed markedly,” Jairam Sridharan, CFO, Axis Bank, said. “From a sector standpoint, Q4 growth metrics both on credit and deposit side remained somewhat muted. The stress outlook remains elevated and the operating environment continues to remain challenging.”
The bank’s net interest income, or the difference between interest earned on loans and that paid for funds, rose 19.8% to ₹ 4552.6 crore at the end of March 2016. It will pay a dividend of ₹ 5 a share. The bank saw a good growth in its retail division with home and auto loans, where earnings outpaced corporate lending. Its pretax profit from retail more than doubled to ₹ 747 crore, from ₹ 334 crores a year earlier.
The bank’s asset quality deteriorated partly due to the RBI diktat on provisioning as its gross bad loans climbed to 1.67% of total assets, from 1.34% a year earlier. Net bad loans, after providing for losses, rose to 0.7% from 0.44% But addition of fresh bad loans slowed to ₹ 1,474 crore in the March quarter from ₹ 2,082 crore in the December 2015.
“Our outlook with respect to asset quality continues to remain cautious, some of the asset quality increases we have seen this year will continue to sustain,” Sridharan said.