Forex Boost

Chandi Dharmaratne

May 14, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank of Ceylon, the island’s largest private lender in terms said group profits in the March 2012 quarter rose 38 percent to 2.8 billion rupees, helped by foreign exchange gains. The bank reported earnings of 3.42 rupees per share for the quarter. The stock closed at 105 rupees up 60 cents.

At stand alone bank level return on assets rose to 3.63 percent from 2.71 percent a quarter earlier. Return on equity rose to 25.2 percent from 20.7 percent.

Group interest income rose 27 percent to 11.2 billion rupees and interest expenses rose at a faster 37 percent to 6.1 billion rupees and the bank grew net interest income 17 percent to 5.0 billion rupees.

At bank level it maintained interest margins at 4.44 percent in the March quarter from a quarter earlier.

Fee income rose 129 percent to 3.4 billion rupees with foreign exchange income rising 359 percent to 2.28 billion rupees.

Sri Lanka’s rupee fell from around 110 to 130 in the first quarter. A bank can made profits on forex trading as well as on dollar bonds.

“These results reflect a continuation of the momentum achieved in 2011, even under challenging market conditions,” managing director Ravi Dias sa