ICICI Bank sees bad loan additions falling significantly

India's ICICI Bank Ltd expects additions to its bad loans to be "significantly lower" this financial year, its chief executive said on Wednesday, as the lender reported a smaller than expected rise in quarterly profit. India's third-biggest lender by assets said its standalone net profit nearly tripled to 20.25 billion rupees ($315.7 million) in its fourth quarter to the end of March, though that lagged analysts' expectations of 22.04 billion rupees. Bad loans at Indian banks have surged in the past year or so after an asset quality review ordered by the central bank as part of a clean-up exercise. It continues to tighten rules around bad assets, which hit a record $150 billion in December.

ICICI, which has the highest amount of bad loans among India's private sector lenders, said additions to its non-performing assets (NPA) in the fourth quarter were "elevated" by one borrower in the cement sector but it expected part of that loan to be upgraded on the conclusion of a pending deal. "Going forward for the year FY18, we believe that the NPA additions for the year will be significantly lower than FY17," Chief Executive Chanda Kochhar told reporters, referring to the bank's financial years that run from April to March. "We also expect some of the resolutions to get completed during the year, we also expect some upgrades from NPAs," Kochhar said on a conference call.

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