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Private Banks: Operating profits hit

Mar 13, 2002

The private banking sector reported stellar performance during the December quarter of FY02. Income from operations grew at a strong rate of 30% and profits excluding provisions doubled during the quarter. We have covered five major private sector banks - HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Global Trust Bank (GTB), UTI Bank and IDBI Bank in our sector study.

(Rs m) 3QFY01 3QFY02 Change 9m FY01 9m FY02 Change
Income from operations 12,143 15,802 30.1% 34,293 44,941 31.0%
Other Income 2,097 4,496 114.4% 4,922 11,836 140.5%
Interest expense 8,891 11,498 29.3% 24,841 33,058 33.1%
Net interest income 3,251 4,304 32.4% 9,452 11,883 25.7%
Other expenses 2,751 3,943 43.4% 7,122 10,952 53.8%
Operating Profit 501 361 -28.0% 2,331 931 -60.0%
Operating Profit Margin (%) 4.1% 2.3%   6.8% 2.1%  
Provisions and contingencies 285 1,943 580.8% 1,469 4,313 193.5%
Profit before Tax 2,313 2,914 26.0% 5,784 8,455 46.2%
Tax 732 923 26.2% 1,526 2,675 75.3%
Profit after Tax/(Loss) 1,581 1,991 25.9% 4,258 5,780 35.7%
Net profit margin (%) 13.0% 12.6%   12.4% 12.9%  
No. of Shares (m) 833.4 941.4   833.4 941.4  
Diluted Earnings per share* 6.7 8.5   6.0 8.2  
P/E Ratio   13.4     13.9  

Except Global Trust Bank all other private banks covered in our sector study posted a healthy growth in interest income. GTB's core business income declined by 14% and profits dropped by 74% in the third quarter on the back of erosion in operating margins and a sharp rise in non-performing assets (NPAs) provisions. The bank is facing challenging business conditions.

The sector's income from operations' growth was driven by higher income from investments. Save for IDBI Bank, all other banks reported a relatively better growth in investment income. With softer interest rates, bond prices soared up and banks opted to lock in profits on government securities held by them. This was reflected from a triple digits rise in other income figure. The proportion of other income to total income increased to 22% during the quarter from a mere 15% in the corresponding previous quarter.

Despite a sterling growth in income, the sector's operating profits took a hit and declined by 28%. Pressure on interest margins and higher operating expenses depressed operating profit growth of the sector. HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank in particular witnessed a more than proportionate rise in interest cost. Even though cost to income ratio of private banking sector declined to 45% from 51% in 3QFY01, it still stands on the higher side compared to growth in total income.

All private banks increased provisioning amount for non-performing assets substantially in the third quarter. This could be to increase the NPA coverage. Also, slowing industrial activity could have contributed to rise in this figure. Effective tax rate at 31.7% remained constant in 3QFY02. A significant rise in provision figure contributed in lowering the earnings growth of the sector.

Private banking sector gets a P/E multiple of 14x 9m FY02 earnings at current valuations. This is significantly higher compared to a valuation of 4x accorded to PSU banking sector. Private banking sector has been opened up for foreign investment with increase in FDI limit to 49%. This fueled stock prices of most banks in the sector in expectations of a strategic stake sale by these banks.

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