ICICI bank signboard is reflected in a puddle on a street in New Delhi (File photo: Reuters)
ICICI Bank, India's third-largest lender by assets, reported its smallest profit in seven quarters on lower treasury income and as provisions rose from a year earlier but said bad loan additions were slowing.
Net profit for the three months to Dec. 31 fell 32% year on year to Rs 16.5 billion ($259.4 million), the bank said on Wednesday. That compared with a Rs 19.54 billion average forecast from 24 analysts, Thomson Reuters data shows.
Soured loans have nearly doubled at Indian banks
over the past four years as a prolonged economic slowdown took its toll on the ability of companies to repay debt. The rise in non-performing loans has also been blamed on profligate lending in some cases.
While 21 state-run lenders account for bulk of the Rs 9.46 trillion of stressed loans at Sept. 30, private sector banks
including ICICI also had more than a trillion rupees of non-performing and rolled-over debt.
ICICI's gross bad loans as a percentage of total loans was 7.82% at the end of December, compared with 7.87% at Sept. 30 and 7.2% a year earlier.
Growth in bad loans slowed to Rs 43.8 billion in the past quarter, from Rs 46.74 billion in the September quarter. That compared with Rs 70.37 billion a year ago.
Chief Executive Chanda Kochhar told reporters on a conference call that bad-loan additions were at their slowest in nine quarters but forecast provisions for such loans to remain at an "elevated" level as banks
set aside more money for defaults by companies being pursued in bankruptcy court.
Provisions including for bad loans rose by 31.6% from a year earlier to Rs 35.7 billion in the quarter, the bank said.
Kochhar also said the bank did not need to disclose any additional bad loans for the last financial year to March 2017 after a central bank audit of its books. She did not give details of the audit but said it was below the threshold set by the Reserve Bank of India for banks to report so-called divergence in bad loans.
State-run IDBI Bank, which also reported third-quarter results on Wednesday, posted a fifth straight quarterly loss on higher provisions for bad loans, though the loss narrowed from last year.
On Wednesday, ICICI scrip on BSE closed 0.24% lower at Rs 353.45.