We would like to clarify the position of ICICI Ltd. ("India's IPOs: All that glitters isn't a jewel," Finance, Dec. 20). ICICI has continually focused on using information technology as a strategic tool to help the company gain competitive advantage.
ICICI has made substantial investments in information technology over the past few years to become a front-runner in the Indian financial sector. For example, ICICI Bank, which is ICICI's banking subsidiary, was the first in India to offer its customers banking services over the Internet.
ICICI has one of the lowest nonperforming loan (NPL) ratios in the entire Indian financial system. In keeping with its objective of making itself a globally competitive domestic player, ICICI has adopted the practice of auditing its own accounts in accordance with the more stringent U.S.'s generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). ICICI is the first financial intermediary in India to adopt this standard.
ICICI's net NPL ratio under U.S. GAAP decreased from 6.7% as of June 30, 1999, to 6.1% as of Sept. 30, 1999. The drop in NPL ratio is attributable to the emphasis that ICICI placed on recovery and settlements of bad assets and to its proactive approach toward cases under stress.