SBI posts Q4 loss of Rs 7,718 cr on provisions, gross NPAs up


Reflecting the continued pressure on state-run banks, State Bank of India (SBI) on Tuesday posted a loss of Rs 7,718 crore for the fourth quarter ended March, mainly due to increased provisioning, the bank said in a stock exchange filing.

The country's largest lender had recorded a profit after tax (PAT) of Rs 2,815 crore in the corresponding quarter of the last fiscal.

SBI's fourth quarter loss more than trebled over that of the previous quarter when the bank had incurred a loss of Rs 2,416 crore. 

"Bank's net loss is attributable to lower trading income and significant MTM (mark-to-market) losses due to hardening of bond yields; incremental Provision during the quarter for NPAs (non-performing assets); higher provisioning on account of wage revision and enhancement in gratuity ceiling," SBI said.

Operating profit in the fourth quarter at Rs 15,883 crore declined by 8.24 per cent, from Rs 17,309 crore in the same quarter of last year. 

Net interest income during January-March at Rs 19,974 crore declined by 5.18 per cent, from Rs 21,065 crore in the same period a year ago "contributed mainly by reduction in MCLR (marginal cost of lending rate) and Base Rate and increase in NPAs".

"Interest expenses on deposits during the quarter in question at Rs 33,206 crore was down by 6.28 per cent, from Rs 35,431 crore in Q4FY17 despite a growth in deposits by 4.68 per cent," the statement said. 

The bank's accumulated problem of gross NPAs, or bad loans, during the quarter in consideration at Rs 2,23,427 crore, worsened at 10.91 per cent, as compared to the 10.35 per cent in the previous quarter, and a gross NPA level of 6.9 per cent registered in the same quarter a year ago. 

The net NPA ratio during the January-March quarter stood at 5.73 per cent, which is a marginal rise over 5.61 per cent on this count in the previous quarter. Net NPAs in the same quarter last year were at 3.71 per cent.

Provisioning shot up to Rs 28,096 crore in the fourth quarter, compared to Rs 18,876 crore in the previous quarter.

SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar said at a press conference here that the bank's provision coverage ratio stands at 66 per cent, which reflects the strength of its balance sheet.

"Financial year 2017-18 has been a difficult year for the entire industry and SBI is no exception. The loss number may look big but look at the strength of the balance sheet," he said. 

Regarding the NPAs, the Chairman said the bank has "put the past behind". Some remnants of the bad loan cycle, however, remain.

With results coming in during market hours, the SBI stock closed on Tuesday at Rs 254.15 a share, up Rs 9.05, or by 3.69 per cent, over its previous close on the Bombay Stock Exchange.