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Allahabad Bank swings back into the black in Q4 at Rs 111 cr

Lender announces plans to pare corporate exposure and diversify into agri and MSME sectors

Avishek Rakshit  |  Kolkata 

Usha Ananthasubramanian, Allahabad bank, Kolkata
Usha Ananthasubramanian, MD & CEO and S Harisankar, ED, Allahabad bank at a press meet to announce bank's financial results in Kolkata on Wednesday. Photo: Subrata Majumder

Kolkata-based Allahabad Bank, which is aggressively trying to recover non-performing assets (NPA) this year besides changing its focus over loan disbursal, posted a net profit of Rs 111.15 crore in the fourth quarter (Q) of the last financial year (FY) as against the loss of Rs 581.13 crore in Q4 of FY16.

While the bank's operating profit shot up by 22 per cent at Rs 1,065.66 crore in the quarter under review, the net interest margin (NIM) also increased to 2.54 per cent in Q4 of FY17 from 2.21 per cent in Q4 of FY16. For the current FY, it expects to keep the NIM between 2.3-2.5 per cent.

However, the total income had risen by a little over one per cent at Rs 5,105.13 crore as against the earning of Rs 5,051.38 crore in the last quarter of FY16.

On an annual basis, the bank was able to bring down its net loss by 58 per cent to Rs 313.52 crore.

This year, the bank has decided to bring down its exposure to the and instead, focus on increasing loans to the micro-small scale industry, retail and

Currently, the accounts for 65 per cent of the bank's gross credit of Rs 1,58,104 crore, which it plans to bring down to 50 per cent. As on March 31, 2017, credit to the and the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) from the bank stood at Rs 27,075 crore and Rs 29,835 crore, respectively. Retail credit, excluding housing, stood at Rs 29,168 crore.

"Our corporate loan book is extensive and going forward this year, we plan to reduce it while increasing our exposure to the MSME, retail and But, it doesn't mean we'll reject fresh loans to the corporate sector," the bank's newly appointed managing director and chief executive officer, said, adding, steel sector loans are the most stressed.

The bank's corporate loan book covers companies in the steel, infrastructure, power and textiles segments.

Apart from changing focus on the loan portfolio, Ananthasubramanian said in the ongoing FY, the bank is going to focus on recovery. During 2016-17, Allahabad Bank's net NPA to net advances ratio increased to 8.92 per cent from 6.76 per cent in the corresponding period of the previous FY. Additionally, slippage prevention is also a priority this year.

Apart from these two priorities, the bank is also focussing on rationalising its branches, most of which is expected to happen in urban centres. While it implies assimilation of multiple branches into a single branch, Ananthasubramanian said. As a consequence, she said, the branches' financial performance and staff count will be considered while taking decisions.

"However, it would not be possible to cut down on rural branches as it may leave areas unbanked," she said.

The bank is also getting a fresh infusion of Rs 418 crore from the Centre, which will take up its stakes from the current 65.92 per cent to 68 per cent.

By September 2017, would merge its wholly-owned subsidiary, All Bank Finance, with itself.