ICICI Bank reported a 31 percent rise in March quarter profit Friday on strong growth in lending and a decline in bad debts.
Net income for the January to March quarter was a better than expected 19.0 billion rupees ($361.6 million), up from 14.5 billion rupees a year ago. A FactSet poll forecast net income of 17.4 billion rupees.
Strong growth in lending to domestic companies drove loans up 17 percent from a year earlier. As of March 31, its loan book totaled 2.5 trillion rupees ($48.2 billion).
Chief executive Chanda Kochhar said the bank would boost domestic loan growth this fiscal year to 20 percent, higher than the industry average.
“Our growth momentum has picked up quite well across the segments of retail and corporate,” she said.
India’s largest private lender said bad loans fell 23 percent from a year earlier, defying concerns about worsening credit quality in India.
Kochhar said concerns about asset quality have been overstated.
“We are seeing stable asset quality,” she said. “Retail assets continue to remain stable. On the corporate side, it was more specific companies that needed handholding.”
Bad loans that were restructured on more favorable terms to borrowers to ensure payment, rose 42.6 billion rupees ($809.1 million) in March from 30.7 billion in December. Kochhar said the bank has put the bulk of restructuring behind it.
“Our pipeline now is very minimal,” she said. “Most of the restructuring that has to be done is complete.”
The net non-performing asset ratio was 0.62 percent on March 31, down from 0.94 percent a year earlier.
“A lot of concerns about asset quality have not materialized in this quarter,” said Angel Broking analyst Vaibhav Agrawal.
A surge in income from noncore activities also helped the bank’s earnings, including 7.8 billion rupees ($148 million) in payments from subsidiaries.
“Many of our subsidiaries have turned quite profitable and started contributing to the bank’s profits by paying dividends,” Kochhar said.
Friday’s numbers drove the stock up as much as 3.9 percent in Mumbai.