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State Bank Of India Q4 Net Profit More Than Doubles As Expected

State Bank of India, the nation's top lender by assets, reported a more than doubling of its fourth-quarter net profit as expected, while its bad loan ratio narrowed on a quarter-on-quarter basis

State Bank of India (SBI), the nation's top lender by assets, reported a more than doubling of its fourth-quarter net profit as expected, while its bad loan ratio narrowed on a quarter-on-quarter basis.

Standalone net profit, not including contributions from subsidiaries, jumped to Rs 2,815 crore ($433.5 million) for the three months to March 31 from Rs 1,264 crore a year earlier. It was the highest profit in six quarters.

Analysts on average had expected a net profit of Rs 2,833 crore for the lender, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters.

A record $150 billion of soured assets in India's banking sector has been a concern for the regulator and the government, which controls 20-plus lenders that dominate the sector.

While SBI has fared better than its state-run peers in managing its bad assets, investors remain wary due to its heavy exposure to stressed industries such as steel and power.

This month, the government tweaked its laws, giving its central bank greater power to identify and enforce resolution on specific soured loans.

Gross bad loans as a percentage of total loans for SBI, which accounts for more than a fifth of India's total banking assets, fell to 6.9 per cent in March from 7.23 per cent in December.

On an absolute basis, however, gross bad loans increased to Rs 1.12 trillion at end-March from Rs 1.08 trillion in December.

Provisions for bad loans fell 9.4 per cent from a year earlier to Rs 10,993 crore in the March quarter.

Net interest income rose 17.3 per cent from a year earlier to Rs 18,071 crore in the March quarter. Fee income rose 4.9 per cent from a year earlier to Rs 6,078 crore.

SBI, which merged its five subsidiary banks with itself and also took over a niche lender to women in the first consolidation move in the sector, also faces challenges of smoothly integrating the operations.

Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya told Reuters last month that the bank expected a boost to annual profit in three years on cost and efficiency gains from the absorption of the subsidiaries.

Shares in SBI were trading 2.5 per cent higher after the results in a Mumbai market that was down 0.1 per cent.

(Reuters)


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