Lower provisions help ICICI Bank swing to first-quarter profit

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MUMBAI (Reuters) – ICICI Bank Ltd, India’s second-largest private lender, reported a quarterly profit on Saturday compared with a loss a year earlier, helped by lower provisions and higher retail loan growth.

Net profit for the quarter ended June 30 was 19.08 billion rupees ($277.04 million), compared with a loss of 1.20 bln rupees in the same period a year ago, the bank said in a statement.

But the profit fell slightly short of the average forecast of 20.87 billion rupees from 19 analysts, according to Refinitiv data.

ICICI, which has been under pressure lately due to rising bad loans, said net non-performing assets at the end of the June quarter were down 51% to $1.17 billion.

Quarterly provisions fell to $507 million from $865 million a year ago.

Net interest margin, a key indicator of the bank’s profitability, was 3.61% in the quarter, compared with 3.19% in the year-ago quarter.

Earlier in the week, ICICI’s peer Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd also reported a profit that fell marginally shy of estimates, and joined the country’s largest private lender HDFC Bank in warning of the slowing pace of domestic growth.

The warnings from the private lenders in Asia’s third largest economy, which have been dealing with a large pile of stressed loans, have spooked investors.

($1 = 68.8700 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Nupur Anand in Mumbai; Writing by Zeba Siddiqui; Editing by Richard Pullin and Mark Potter

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