Axis Bank more than doubled net profit in its last quarter led by former chief executive Shikha Sharma, driven by higher interest income and recoveries from written-off accounts. The private sector lender said on Tuesday its net profit rose to Rs 1,681 crore ($236.42 million) for the three months to December 31 from Rs 726 crore a year earlier, beating the Rs 1,197 crore forecast on average by 24 analysts, data from Refinitiv showed.
The country's banking sector has faced increased scrutiny amid issues including record-high bad loan levels and a $2-billion fraud uncovered at state-run Punjab National Bank early last year.
While the majority of India's soured loans rest with state-run banks, Axis Bank and larger rival ICICI Bank Ltd account for the biggest chunk among private sector lenders.
After heading the bank for nine years, Ms Sharma handed over the reins to Amitabh Chaudhry in December.
In the third quarter, Axis Bank's gross non-performing loans fell to 5.75 per cent of total loans at the end of December from 5.96 per cent in the previous quarter, but were higher than 5.28 per cent a year earlier.
Non-interest income jumped 54 per cent to Rs 4,001 crore, driven by growth in fee income and the recovery of Rs 998 crore mainly from two written-off accounts, India's third-biggest private sector lender by assets said in a filing to the exchanges.
Net interest income climbed 18.4 per cent, boosted by a 13 per cent growth in loans to Rs 4.75 lakh crore by the end of December. Compared with the same period last year, bad loan additions slowed by 15.4 per cent to Rs 3746 crore.
Net interest margin - the difference between interest paid and earned and a key measure of profitability - rose to 3.47 per cent from 3.36 per cent in the previous quarter.
($1 = Rs 71.1025)
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