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Chanda Kochhar says board has made its stand clear on Videocon loans; ICICI Bank’s Q4 profit drops 50%



ICICI Bank on Monday posted a 49.62 per cent drop in Q4 net profit to Rs 1,020 crore as against Rs 2,025 crore in the year-ago quarter, mainly due to rise in provisions of bad loans. Breaking her silence on ICICI-Videocon loan controversy, ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar said that the board has made its stand clear and she has nothing more to add. Kochhar added the bank has always co-operated with the regulatory and investigating agencies, and will continue to do so in future.

While there was no discussion on Videocon case in today’s board meeting, it is unlikely that this issue would be discussed by board members and independent directors in tomorrow’s meeting. “Tomorrow’s board meeting is a usual board meeting which happens every year. Once the year begins, we focus on strategy, planning for the coming year,” Kochhar said at the press conference.

On the question of bringing an interim CEO to maintain the stability at the bank, Kochhar replied saying, “I think the board has made its stand very clear in the March 28 board meeting and as far as the operations of the bank are concerned, you can see the stability, the enhancement in franchise and the results.”

On bank’s performance, Kochhar added that the past few year have been challenging in terms of asset quality but the bank has focused on de-risking the balance sheets.

India’s second largest private lender has been embroiled in a series of allegations of impropriety while extending loans to Videocon. ICICI Bank investor Arvind Gupta had levelled allegations of quid pro quo against ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar.

When a question was asked if she would continue as the CEO until March 2019, Kochhar said, “I think today we are talking about the Q4 results, we have never talked about any CEOs tenure in any results presentation.”

ICICI Bank’s standalone profit after tax was at Rs 6,777 crore for FY 2018 as compared to Rs 9,801 crore for the year ended March 31, 2017. Bank’s provisions during the quarter jumped 85.6 percent to Rs 6,625.7 crore, as against Rs 3,570 crore in the previous quarter ending December 2017.

Posting a robust loan growth, bank’s domestic loan grew at 15 per cent year-on-year as on March 31, 2018 driven by retail. Retail loans grew by 21 per cent year-on-year and constituted 57 per cent of the total loan portfolio as on March 31.

However, ICICI Bank’s slippages rose nearly four times to Rs 15,737 crore as compared to Rs 4,380 crore in the third quarter of FY18. Gross NPAs include loans worth Rs 9968 crore which were given under the RBI schemes and were classified as standard on December 31, 2017, the bank said in a statement.

NII or net interest income inched up marginally to Rs 6,021.67 crore in the quarter from Rs 5,962 crore a year ago and non-interest income jumped 88 percent to Rs 5,678.6 crore (up from Rs 3,017 crore a year ago), supported by a one-time gain from the stake sale in ICICI Securities.

Net interest margin increased from 3.14 per cent in the quarter ended December 31, 2017 to 3.24 per cent in the quarter ended March 31, 2018. The Board has also recommended a dividend of Rs 1.50 per equity share.

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