Big Lender

Feb 27, 2013 (LBO) – Profits at Commercial Bank of Ceylon, Sri Lanka’s largest private lender, rose 22 percent to 2.4 billion rupees in the December 2012 quarter from a year earlier, helped by higher net interest income and lower provisions. The group reported earnings of 2.92 rupees per share for the quarter, in quarter accounts filed with the Colombo Stock Exchange.

In the year to December the group reported earnings of 12.08 rupees per share on total profits of 10.05 billion rupees which was up 24 percent from a year earlier.

Fee income was flat at 2.0 billion rupees, with forex income falling 23 percent to 655 million rupees.

Interest income rose 45 percent to 14.6 billion rupees, interest expense rose 58 percent to 8.7 billion rupees and net interest income rose 29 percent to 5.9 billion rupees.

The bank said the interest margin improved 15 basis points to 4.59 percent from a year earlier.

Performing loans rose 17.9 percent to 320 billion rupees during the year. Non-performing loans rose 12.9 percent to 17.8 billion rupees.

But the bank said non-performing loans as a ratio of total loans fell to 3.37 percent in 2012 from 3.43 percent a year earlier, an net the NPL ratio also improved to 1.84 percent from