Axis Bank on Friday reported an 18 per cent growth in its profit after tax to Rs.1,842 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2014, on the back of a rise in interest and fee incomes.

“The earning was driven by a strong growth in net interest income. It was also supported by non-interest income, mainly fee and trading profit,” Executive Director Somnath Sengupta told reporters during a conference call.

Net interest income (NII) rose 19 per cent to Rs.3,166 crore.

For the full fiscal, NII rose 24 per cent to Rs.11,952 crore. The net profit rose 20 per cent to Rs.6,218 crore.

The bank recorded a net interest margin of 3.89 per cent in the quarter under review against 3.70 per cent in the year ago period.

“This improvement in NIM was mainly due to growth of the low cost CASA deposits and also as the share of retail deposit in our total deposits have also grown quiet strongly in the quarter,” Mr. Sengupta said.

The bank’s scrip closed at Rs.1,534.45 apiece, up 1.10 per cent, on the BSE on Friday.

As of end March 2014, domestic term deposits grew 36 per cent.

Gross NPAs stood at 1.22 per cent in the quarter against 1.06 per cent in the same period last year. Net NPAs were 0.40 per cent as against 0.32 per cent. The bank’s provision coverage ratio stood at 78 per cent.

Net slippages in the quarter was Rs.301 crore.

The bank’s advances grew 17 per cent to Rs.2,30,067 crore as at March-end. Domestic retail advances grew 31 per cent to Rs.70,745 crore and accounted for 36 per cent of net domestic advances compared to 32 per cent last year.

“We are seeing some sluggishness in some of the products like real estate, car loans and commercial vehicle segment.

“However, it will change quickly if sentiments change a little bit. We are cautiously optimistic about the retail lending in the coming year,” Mr. Sengupta said.

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