Commercial Profits

March 4, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank group reported net profits of 4.1 billion rupees double that of last year, while revenues grew 44 percent to 35.2 billion rupees in 2007. The bank’s deputy chairman B R L Fernando said last year’s profits were depressed by a one-off pension buy back and ‘normalised’ profit growth was 46 percent.

The pension charge last year was 1.8 billion rupee compared to 269 million rupees this year, which narrowed the bottom line to 2.0 billion rupees in 2006.

The banks net interest income grew 52 percent to 11.5 billion rupees with interest income growing 56 percent to 30.5 billion rupees and interest expense growing 58 percent to 18.9 billion rupees.

Chief executive Amitha Gooneratne said the 2007 profits were made in tough conditions of high inflation and volatile interest rates.

“Though volatility also gives opportunities, it brings risks,” he told reporters.

Sri Lanka’s overnight rates fluctuate between 14 to slightly over 20 percent, but analysts say the bank is liquid and is generally on the lending side.

It is active on treasury operations and forex.

On the fee-based side Commercial Bank made 1.5 billion ru