(Reuters) - State Bank of India (SBI) reported its first quarterly profit in four on Monday as bad loan provisions fell and asset quality improved, sending shares of the country's largest lender by assets to a two-month high. SBI's net profit came in at 9.45 billion rupees ($129.41 million) for the second quarter ended Sept 30, compared with a profit of 15.82 billion rupees a year ago, and ahead of analysts' expectations of a profit of 5.65 billion rupees, according to Refinitiv data.
Provisions for bad loans at SBI fell 39.1 percent from a year earlier to 101.85 billion rupees. Bad loan additions slowed in the quarter, pushing the overall bad-loan ratio down.
Strategy on controlling credit cost, containing overhead expenses and focus on credit quality has enabled the bank to deliver a net profit during the second quarter, SBI said in a statement https://www.bseindia.com/xml-data/corpfiling/AttachLive/b2142dd5-5684-4074-b7fb-8e69c0197ec1.pdf.
The bank's asset quality improved, with gross bad loans as a percentage of total loans at 9.95 percent at Sept-end, compared with 10.69 percent in the previous quarter. It was still slightly higher than 9.83 percent in the year-ago period.
The bank also said it was on track to meet slippage ratio and credit cost guidance for FY19 and FY20.
Shares of SBI rose as much as 5.1 percent after the results, in a weaker broader market.
($1 = 73.0250 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)
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