Battling Rates

May 12, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Nations Trust Bank group said net profits for the March 2012 quarter rose 8 percent from a year earlier to 405 million rupees, as margins narrowed amid rising interest rates. The group reported earnings of 1.76 for the quarter. The stock closed at 48.80 down 10 cents Friday.

Return on assets fell to 2.28 percent from 2.34 percent and return on equity fell to 18.68 percent from 19.56 percent.

Group interest income grew 49 percent to 2.25 billion rupees in the quarter, and interest expenses grew 47 percent to 1.89 billion rupees and net interest income grew at a slower 9 percent to 1.14 billion rupees.

Fee income grew 9 percent to 648 million rupees, despite the absence of initial public offer guarantee fees, with forex income rising 66 percent to 127 million rupees amid greater volatility in exchange rates.

Loan losses were a reversal of 421 million rupees with a general provision of 25 million rupees offset by a 26 million rupee write back. Income taxes were flat. Last year banks benefited from a tax cut.

Performing loans grew 7 percent to 66.7 billion rupees and non performing loans grew at a slightly faster 12 percent to 2.5 billion rupees.