Private sector lender ICICI Bank reported a 158% year-on-year jump in net profit to ₹4,146 crore for the quarter ended December 2019, due to a one-time gain from the resolution of Essar Steel that led provisions declining 51% to ₹2,083 crore from the previous quarter. The Sandeep Bakhshi-led bank announced its quarterly earnings results for the December quarter (Q3) on Saturday.

This is the first time the private sector lender's quarterly profit crossed the ₹4,000 crore-mark. The stock hit ₹543.05 per share at 9:15 am on the S&P BSE Sensex on Monday, against its previous close of ₹533.95 on Friday.

The bank's strong operating performance met analyst estimates. The lender reported an improvement in asset quality in Q3: Gross non-performing asset (NPA) declined to 5.95% from 7.75% a year ago and net NPA decreased to 1.49% from 2.58%. The bank also reported bad loan recoveries and upgrades of ₹4,088 crore during the quarter.

The lender's balance sheet crossed the ₹10 lakh-crore mark, to stand at ₹10,07,068 crore in Q3. CASA (current account and savings account) and term deposits grew by 15% and 24%, respectively from the corresponding period last year.

The bank said the domestic loan growth at 16% was mainly driven by retail loans that grew 19% over a year. The corporate portfolio grew 12% during the same period.

The bank’s net interest income rose 24% over a year to ₹8,545 crore in Q3 and non-interest income stood at ₹4,043 crore from ₹3,404 crore in the year-ago quarter, and net interest margin improved to 3.77% from 3.64%.

"We expect the operating performance to remain healthy and high provision coverage ratio and limited exposure to stress manes will keep credit costs under control. While its retail portfolio has been growing well, growth in business banking and SME is accelerating strongly and will further propel overall loan growth," brokerage firm Motilal Oswal Financial Services said in a note to investors.

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