Lower Provisions Drive ICICI Bank To Report 18.5% Growth In Q4 Net Profit To Rs 11,672 cr

ICICI bank's tech spending has gone up to 9.4 per cent of the operational expenses in FY24 from 5.6 per cent in 2019

ICICI Bank on Saturday said its March quarter consolidated net profit grew 18.5 per cent to Rs 11,672 crore, helped by lower provisions.

On a standalone basis, the second largest private sector lender showed a 17.4 per cent growth in its profit after tax at Rs 10,708 crore for the reporting quarter against Rs 9,122 crore in the year-ago period.

For fiscal 2023-24, its standalone net profit grew to Rs 40,888 crore from Rs 31,896 crore a year ago. The core net interest income increased 8.1 per cent to Rs 19,093 crore in the reporting quarter on a 16.8 per cent growth in loans. However, it was restricted by a compression in net interest margin to 4.40 per cent from 4.90 per cent in the year-ago period.

The non-interest income, excluding the performance of the treasury, came at Rs 5,930 crore, which is 15.7 per cent higher than the year-ago period. The provisions more than halved to Rs 718 crore for the reporting quarter, as per the exchange filing by the lender.

In times of high competition for deposits, the lender managed a deposit growth of 19 per cent. During the reporting quarter, the loan growth was driven by retail at 19.4 per cent, and the proportion of such loans has grown to 54.9 per cent of the overall pie.

In comments that come months after the RBI's concerns on unsecured lending, its executive director Sandeep Batra said it "calibrated" the personal loan growth down to 32.5 per cent from over 37 per cent earlier while the growth in credit card outstanding was 35.6 per cent.

Corporate loans grew 10 per cent in FY24 but were flat in the March quarter from a sequential perspective because of some repayments by some state-run companies, Batra said.

When asked about the quality of the book, he said the bank is comfortable with the performance of such unsecured loans. Batra declined to comment on any conversations with the RBI on the issue of technology glitches and outages but added that any spending on the critical aspect will not constrained by budgetary limitations.

The bank's tech spending has gone up to 9.4 per cent of the operational expenses in FY24 from 5.6 per cent in 2019. Replying to a specific question, Batra said there is "nothing material" from the incident of mapping nearly 17,000 credit cards to the wrong users.

On the asset quality front, the bank reported fresh slippages of Rs 5,139 crore, of which a majority of Rs 4,900 crore came from the retail exposures.

The gross non-performing assets ratio improved to 2.16 per cent from 2.30 per cent in December 2023. The overall provisions more than halved to Rs 718.49 crore from the Rs 1,619.80 crore in the year-ago period, which helped in the profit growth.

Without spelling out an exact level, Batra said the NIMs will be "range-bound" in the future unless there is any shock, and added that the bank expects a "shallow" rate cut by the RBI.

There was also a Rs 100 crore write-back in the provisions from the Rs 650 crore set aside in the quarter-ago period because of the investments in Alternative Investment Funds following an RBI circular, which has subsequently been clarified.

It added 623 branches in FY24, taking its overall network to over 6,500 branches, and Batra said it will be adding a similar number of branches in FY25 as well.

The overall capital adequacy stood at 16.33 per cent as of March 31, with the CET-1 ratio at 15.60 per cent. The board has recommended a dividend of Rs 10 per share for FY24, as per an official statement.

Among its subsidiaries, the profit after tax of ICICI Prudential Asset Management Company came at Rs 529 crore for the quarter against Rs 385 crore in the year-ago period, while the same for ICICI Securities grew to Rs 537 crore from Rs 263 crore.

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