April 20, 2019 / 11:05 AM / in a month

HDFC Bank fourth-quarter profit up 22.6 percent to record high

The headquarters of HDFC bank is pictured in Mumbai, December 4, 2015. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade

(Reuters) - India’s HDFC Bank Ltd reported a record quarterly net profit of 58.85 billion rupees ($848 million) on Saturday, meeting market expectations as the country’s biggest lender by market value raked in higher interest and fee income.

The bank also said its board had approved raising up to 500 billion rupees by issuing debt over the next 12 months.

Net profit rose 22.6 percent in the fourth quarter through March from 47.99 billion rupees a year ago. Analysts were looking for a profit of 58.46 billion rupees, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The private sector lender, which focuses on retail consumers and has a relatively small exposure to the troubled infrastructure sector, has been able to tame its bad loans and stay profitable at a time when high levels of soured assets have swept the sector.

HDFC Bank is the first major Indian lender to report results for the final quarter of the year.

Overall its loans grew 24.5 percent as of end-March, of which domestic retail loans climbed 19 percent.

Net interest income was up 22.8 percent, while the net interest margin was 4.4 percent.

Asset quality improved slightly, with gross bad loans as a percentage of the total at 1.36 percent by the end of March, compared with 1.38 percent in the previous quarter and 1.30 percent in the same period last year.

($1 = 69.4020 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Writing by Swati Bhat; Editing by Himani Sarkar and David Holmes

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