Hedge Profits

Oct 01, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Citibank unit has reported sharply higher profits from hedging deals, Fitch Ratings said, confirming its ‘AAA(lka)’ long term credit rating with a ‘Stable’ outlook. In the first half of 2008 85 percent of loans were to large corporates and 14.5 percent to the government of Sri Lanka and state entities.

The bank’s gross non performing loan (NPL) ratio was 0.5 percent in the first half of 2008 (0.5 percent in 2007) and NPLs are fully covered by specific provisions resulting in a zero net NPL/equity ratio.

Concentrations

“While CitiSL’s selective lending policies have enabled the bank to maintain a healthy loan portfolio – with a gross NPL ratio that is amongst the lowest in the local LCB sector, it has nevertheless resulted in some credit concentration within the lending portfolio,” Fitch said.

The bank’s 20 largest group borrowers accounted for 82 percent of total loans during the first half of 2008 (85 percent in 2007). As a result, the loan book is susceptible to some fluctuations upon loan settlement.

Loan growth was 69.8 percent at the end of 2007 and followed a contraction of 21.1 percent in 2006.

The bank’s asset book was