Union Bank of India Q4 profit rises 23% aided by stake sale in insurance arm, lower cost of deposits

State-owned Union Bank of India on Friday reported a 22.68% jump in consolidated net profit to ₹1,557.09 crore for the March quarter 2021-22 aided by a ₹627 crore gain through a stake sale in its insurance arm and benefits through low cost of deposits.

On a standalone basis, the lender reported 8.26% growth in net profit at ₹1,440 crore. The lender ended FY22 with a 80% jump in profit after tax at ₹5,232 crore.

Core net interest income (NII) grew 25.29% at ₹6,769 crore, on the back of 9.60% growth in advances and the net interest margin widening by 0.38% to 2.75%.

Chief Executive and Managing Director G. Rajkiran Rai told reporters that the cost of deposits came down by up to 0.70% during the quarter, which helped restrict the interest expenses growth to 3.30%, and benefitted in widening the NII number.

The other income slid by 25.10% to ₹3,243 crore due to reverses on the treasury operations amid the rising interest rate environment.

Mr. Rai said the bank booked a gain of ₹627 crore through a stake sale in India First Life Insurance in March, but the same was utilised to increase the provisions to cover for loan reverses, and added that the provision coverage ratio had now climbed to more than 83%.

The overall provisions came at ₹3,618 crore for March 2022 quarter as against ₹2,549 crore in the preceding December quarter and ₹3,683 crore in the year-earlier period.

It has a ₹2,700 crore exposure to the Future Group across accounts which has been now classified as non-performing, and the provisions cover on the same stands at 58% now, Mr. Rai said, adding that the exposure to the troubled financier Srei Group was at ₹2,492 crore and the provision cover on the same was at 86%.

One unnamed chunky exposure to a corporate account dented its fresh slippages, Mr. Rai said, adding that the large corporate slippages were ₹2,557 crore, retail came at ₹648 crore, agriculture at ₹1,024 crore and medium-sized businesses at ₹1,443 crore.

Gross non-performing assets ratio narrowed to 11.11% as on March 31 from 13.74% a year earlier, and the bank is targeting to trim it down further to 9% by end of FY23, Mr. Rai said.

He said the bank was targeting a credit growth of 10-12%, which will include an 8-10% rise in corporate advances, and the NIM to be at 3%.

“The bank management feels the loan loss provisions also have to come down in the new fiscal year as much of the dud advances are ageing, and will look at reducing slippages, pushing up recovery efforts and do technical write-offs where possible,“ Mr. Rai said, adding that no NPA had been transferred yet to NARCL.

From a credit growth perspective, a 0.50-1% hike in lending rates would not have an impact on the retail loan growth but could impact corporate loans in the short term, Mr. Rai said.

In the year gone by, the bank rationalised over 700 branches and 1,500 automated teller machines (ATMs), majorly because of the doubling up of presence after the amalgamation of Corporation Bank and Andhra Bank with itself, Mr. Rai said, adding that such efforts would continue.

Overall capital adequacy stood at 14.52% with the core tier-I capital at 10.63%. Mr. Rai also said that the lender was targeting to gain market share during the new fiscal on its digital and physical distribution strengths.

The bank scrip settled at ₹36.20, up 7.42% from the previous close, on the BSE.

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Printable version | May 13, 2022 9:17:35 pm |