Mixed Blessings

May 15, 2014 (LBO) – Profits at Sri Lanka’s state-run Bank of Ceylon group fell 1.9 percent from a year earlier to 2.64 billion rupees in the March 2014 quarter with loan loss reversals and trading gains, offsetting flat net interest income.

Financial investments held-to-maturity rose to 206 billion rupees from 157 billion rupees.

Fees and commission income rose 26 percent to 1.7 billion rupees.

Gains from trading rose 78 percent to 1.0 billion rupees and gains from financial investments surged to 1.89 billion rupees from 108 million rupees a year earlier.

Group gross assets rose to 1.267 billion rupees in March from 1,225 billion in December. At standalone bank level, gross assets rose to 1,228 billion rupees from 1,193 billion rupees.

Capital adequacy increased to 12.25 percent from 12.10 percent.

Group interest income rose 2.0 percent to 27.9 billion rupees and interest expenses rose at a slower 1.8 percent to 19.0 billion rupees helping net interest income grow 2.6 percent to 8.9 billion rupees.

Sri Lanka’s is recovering from a balance of payments crisis and interest rates are falling. Though most segments of loans grew, the bank cut back is gold backed loans or pawning advances after gold prices fell.