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State Bank of India Q4 profit more than doubles, bad loan ratio falls

Reuters  |  MUMBAI 

By Devidutta Tripathy

(Reuters) - of (SBI), the nation's top lender by assets, reported a more than doubling of its fourth-quarter net profit as expected, while its bad loan ratio narrowed on a quarter-on-quarter basis.

Standalone net profit, not including contributions from subsidiaries, jumped to 28.15 billion rupees ($433.5 million) for the three months to March 31 from 12.64 billion rupees a year earlier. It was the highest profit in six quarters.

Analysts on average had expected a net profit of 28.33 billion rupees for the lender, according to data compiled by Thomson

A record $150 billion of soured assets in India's banking sector has been a concern for the regulator and the government, which controls 20-plus lenders that dominate the sector.

While has fared better than its state-run peers in managing its bad assets, investors remain wary due to its heavy exposure to stressed industries such as steel and power.

This month, the government tweaked its laws, giving its central greater power to identify and enforce resolution on specific soured loans.

Gross bad loans as a percentage of total loans for SBI, which accounts for more than a fifth of India's total banking assets, fell to 6.9 percent in March from 7.23 percent in December.

On an absolute basis, however, gross bad loans increased to 1.12 trillion rupees at end-March from 1.08 trillion rupees in December.

Provisions for bad loans fell 9.4 percent from a year earlier to 109.93 billion rupees in the March quarter.

Net interest income rose 17.3 percent from a year earlier to 180.71 billion rupees in the March quarter. Fee income rose 4.9 percent from a year earlier to 60.78 billion rupees.

SBI, which merged its five subsidiary banks with itself and also took over a niche lender to women in the first consolidation move in the sector, also faces challenges of smoothly integrating the operations.

Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya told last month that the expected a boost to annual profit in three years on cost and efficiency gains from the absorption of the subsidiaries.

Shares in were trading 2.5 percent higher after the in a market that was down 0.1 percent.

($1 = 64.9400 rupees)

(Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Additional reporting by Patturaja Murugaboopathy in Bengaluru; Editing by Randy Fabi and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)