Kolkata/New Delhi, May 19 (PTI) State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest lender, today reported more than doubling of its fourth quarter net profit on the back of increased lending and reduction in provisioning for bad loans.

Net profit of the bank on standalone basis rose to Rs 2,814.82 crore for the March quarter as against Rs 1,263.81 crore in the same period of previous fiscal, 2015-16.

Operating profit of the bank during the quarter increased 13 per cent at Rs 16,026 crore as against Rs 14,192 crore in the same period of previous year.

Total income increased to Rs 57,720 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2017 from Rs 53,526.97 crore for the same quarter year ago.

During the quarter, the Net Interest Income increased by 17.33 per cent to Rs 18,071 crore as against Rs 15,401 crore in the same quarter a year ago.

The gross NPAs rose to 6.9 per cent from 6.5 per cent for the quarter ended March 2016 while net NPAs declined to 3.71 per cent from 3.81 per cent during the same period.

SBI chairman Arundhuti Bhattacharya said ‘loan loss provisions’ were lowered to Rs 10,993 crore during the fourth quarter of last fiscal as against Rs 12,139 crore in the year-ago period.

In absolute terms, gross NPAs increased to Rs 1,12,343 crore on March 2017 from Rs 98,173 crore in the same period last year.

She said that this was its last solo financial result as all the associate banks and Bharatiya Mahila Bank had been merged with it.

The fourth quarter result does not take into account acquisition of its five associates State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Patiala, and State Bank of Hyderabad and Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) as the merger came into effect from April 1.

Commenting upon the quarter, she said it had been difficult but satisfying quarter and the biggest thing which had happened was the merger.

“This was a seven-way merger and the first time in the history of the world,” Bhattacharya told reporters here today.

The board of SBI declared a dividend of Rs 2.60 per share or 260 per cent for the financial year ended March 31, 2017.

Bhattacharya said SBI had done well on a solo basis and the bank had decided to absorb the maximum pain arising out of the merger as a result of which the current quarter would be stressful.

“In the near term, margins will be under pressure due to elevated credit cost due to the merger. At the same time the deposits of the associate banks will be re-priced which will have a positive impact,” she said.

Owing to this two-way pressure, the outlook of the margins is stable, she said.

For the entire fiscal ended March 2017, the net profit of the bank improved by 5.36 per cent to Rs 10,484 crore as against Rs 9,951 crore in the previous fiscal.

Net Interest Margin (Domestic) declined by 0.16 per cent to 3.11 per cent as on March 2017 from 3.27 per cent at the end of previous fiscal.

However, for the year ended March 2017, SBI’s consolidated net profit declined by about 98 per cent to Rs 241.23 crore from Rs 12,224.59 crore at the end of 2015-16 as the banks provisioning for the entire year had increased significantly.

Gross Non Performing Assets for SBI Group increased to 9.04 per cent from 6.40 per cent while net NPAs rose to 5.15 per cent as against 3.73 per cent at the end of March 2016.

Deposits of the bank rose by 18.14 per cent at Rs 20,44,751 crore while advances at Rs 16,27,273 crore at the end of March 2017, registering a growth of 7.80 per cent.

Retail constituted 22 per cent of the loan amount contributed by auto and home loans.

Bhattacharya said that the provision coverage ratio (PCR) had been increased from 60.69 per cent to 65.69 per cent to take care of the resolutions which would surface as a result of the merger. The impact on profit would not be much.

The slippages were slowing down, she said adding that the telecom sector was now a cause for concern.

Regarding the subsidiaries, she said that SBI Life IPO would come this fiscal, while its stake in SBI Cards would be raised.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.