ICICI Bank Reports Record Fourth-Quarter Profit as Credit Grows

ICICI Bank Ltd. (ICICIBC), India’s second-largest lender by assets, posted a record profit for the fourth quarter as loans grew, helping offset an increase in defaults.

Net income rose 15 percent to 26.5 billion rupees ($435 million), or 22.97 rupees a share, for the three months ended March 31, from 23 billion rupees, or 19.98 rupees, a year earlier, the Mumbai-based lender said in an exchange filing today. That compared with the 25.4 billion-rupee median of 37 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Shares of the bank, helmed by Chief Executive Officer Chanda Kochhar, fell as its bad-loan ratio widened. The stock had this week risen to the highest in more than five years amid optimism federal elections will lead to a government that spurs economic growth from near a decade-low. Kochhar has focused on bolstering loans to individuals amid the slowdown.

“Profit growth will strengthen further if the new government succeeds in boosting the economy,” Hatim Broachwala, the Mumbai-based banking analyst at Karvy Stock Broking Ltd., said by phone before the earnings were released. “ICICI Bank, with its high capital buffers and low bad-loan ratio, is better placed than most of the other lenders to benefit from a turnaround in the economy.”

An opinion poll this month found that a coalition led by Narendra Modi’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party may win a majority in the elections when votes are counted on May 16. Modi, 63, is promoting his image as a magnet for investment and a record of stronger-than-average growth in the state of Gujarat he’s ruled since 2001.

The bank’s net soured-debt ratio widened to 0.97 percent from 0.77 percent a year earlier, according to the filing.

Shares of ICICI fell 1.3 percent to 1,283 rupees at 1:24 p.m. in Mumbai trading. The stock gained 17 percent in 2014, beating the 15 percent gain posted by the 12-stock S&P BSE Bankex index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anto Antony in Mumbai at aantony1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net Darren Boey

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