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GoM may consider privatisation of IOB, Central Bank this year

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Inching closer to privatisation of two public sector banks, a high-level panel of secretaries headed by Cabinet secretary is believed to have zeroed in on Central Bank and Indian Overseas Bank as possible candidates for sell off this year.

Sources said that the high level panel of secretaries met in the middle of last week to thrash out the regulatory and administrative issues concerning the PSU bank privatisation and have identified banks that would be put up disinvestment. The panel will now send the names of the shortlisted PSU banks to the group of ministers on disinvestment or Alternative Mechanism (AM) for approval.

Earlier, NITI Aayog has submitted the names of a few public sector banks (PSB) and one public sector general insurer which can be sold off under the government’s new privatisation policy to the Core Group of Secretaries on Disinvestment.

People in the know also said that Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) and Central Bank are the top two candidates that have been favoured for privatisation, though Bank of Maharashtra has also found favour for the exercise either this year or possibly later.

Further, according to sources, United India Insurance may be suggested to the ministers panel for privatisation among the three general insurers, given its relative better solvency ratio. However, financial sector experts also contend that Oriental Insurance, with the least solvency ratio among the three, may be favoured as it does not have overseas operations and inviting a private investor may be easier for it.

Government had earlier indicated that banks under prompt corrective action (PCA) framework or weaker banks would be kept out of privatisation as it would be difficult to find buyers for them. This would have left three PSBs – Indian Overseas Bank, Central Bank and UCO Bank out of the government’s disinvestment plan. But they could be bought out of PCA as there are visible signs of improvement in some of the key parameters such as profitability and asset quality (in net NPA terms as they have stepped up provisioning) in the last 3-4 quarters. This could allow them to be considered for privatisation.

In this year’s budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that two state-run banks along with IDBI Bank would be privatised in FY22. She also said that one general insurance company would be sold off in the current fiscal.

Going ahead with the privatisation process of IDBI Bank on May 5, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its in-principle approval for strategic disinvestment along with transfer of management control in the PSB.

The extent of respective shareholding to be divested by the GoI and LIC, shall be decided at the time of structuring of transaction in consultation with the RBI.

The Finance Minister while delivering the budget speech on February 1 announced a capital infusion of Rs 20,000 crore in state-owned banks for the financial year 2021-2022.

Prior to the privatisation process, the government also undertook merger of the state-run banks, amalgamating weaker banks with the stronger and larger ones. A total of 10 public sector banks were merged with effect from April 1, 2020.

With the merger coming into effect, India currently has 12 public sector banks, down from 27 in 2017.

The government has budgeted Rs 1.75 lakh crore from stake sale in public sector companies and financial institutions. The target, however, may turn out to be ambitious given the global and domestic economic scenario amid the second wave of Covid-19.

Business

Cyclicals to drive Q3FY22 earnings growth: MOFSLA

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Corporate earnings growth for the third quarter of FY22 is expected to be led by cyclical stocks, Motilal Oswal Financial Services (MOSFL) said in a report.

Earnings growth is anticipated to be driven by metals, oil and gas and BFSI (Banking, Financial Services and Insurance) sectors.

In its report, MOSFL said that economic recovery backed by festive demand, higher commodity prices and improvement in asset quality in financials are expected to back this trend.

“There remains a clear divergence in 3QFY22 earnings growth. Global cyclicals, such as oil and gas and metals, continue to drive aggregate earnings growth, while BFSI profits are led by improvements in asset quality and credit growth,” the report said.

“Technology is likely to continue its momentum, propelled by strong revenue growth,” it added.

The auto and cement sectors are anticipated to drag earnings down, led by poor demand and higher commodity prices.

“Consumer, healthcare, capital goods, consumer durables and specialty chemicals are predicted to report single-digit YoY profit growth. Input cost pressures continue to weigh on gross margins for cement, specialty chemicals, autos, consumer staples and durables sectors,” the report said.

The report pointed out that Asian Paints, Bharti Airtel, BPCL, IOC, Tata Steel, JSW Steel, Titan, Hindalco and ONGC have seen an upgrade in their FY22 earnings.

“Companies that have seen downgrades to their FY22E earnings are Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki, Ultratech Cement, Hero Motors, Shree Cement, Coal India, Axis Bank and HUL,” it said.

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HDFC Bank’s Q3FY22 YoY net profit up 18.1%

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 Lending major HDFC Bank on Saturday reported a year-on-year rise in net profit of 18.1 per cent for the third quarter of FY22.

The bank’s net profit increased to Rs 10,342.2 crore during the period under review over the quarter ended December 31, 2020.

Besides, the bank’s net interest income (income earned less interest expended) for the quarter under review grew by 13 per cent to Rs 18,443.5 crore from Rs 16,317.6 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2020.

The lender’s net revenues (net interest income plus other income) increased by 12.1 per cent to Rs 26,627 crore from Rs 23,760.8 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2020.

“Advances grew at 16.5 per cent, reaching new heights driven by relationship management, digital offering and breadth of products. Core net interest margin was at 4.1 per cent. New liability relationships added during the quarter remained at an all-time high,” HDFC Bank said in a statement.

“This continued focus on deposits helped in the maintenance of a healthy liquidity coverage ratio at 123 per cent, well above the regulatory requirement, which positions the bank favourably to capitalise on growth opportunities,” it added.

As per Q3FY22 results, provisions and contingencies for the quarter rose Rs 2,994 crore (consisting of specific loan loss provisions of Rs 1,820.6 crore and general and other provisions of Rs 1,173.4 crore) as against total provisions of Rs 3,414.1 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2020.

“Total provisions for the current quarter included contingent provisions of approximately Rs 900 crore,” it said.

“The total credit cost ratio was at 0.94 per cent, as compared to 1.30 per cent for the quarter ending September 30, 2021 and 1.25 per cent for the quarter ending December 31, 2020,” it added.

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Lenders expected to exhibit strong Q3FY22 results

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 Listed lenders in India’s equity markets are expected to report ‘optically’ strong earnings growth for Q3FY22, said HDFC Securities in a report.

Accordingly, the brokerage house expects its coverage universe of 23 lenders to report 51 per cent YoY growth during the period under review.

This trend, the report said will come largely on the back of expected normalisation of provisions.

“The pace of collections and recoveries continues to improve, which, concurrent with normalised economic activity, is likely to moderate the stressed pool,” the report said.

“Disbursements are likely to witness healthy growth, driven by seasonal pick-up in retail loans as large corporate Capex remains elusive.”

As per the report, the revival in business momentum is likely to drive a 10.4 per cent YoY loan growth for the brokerage house’s coverage universe, with large private banks and large NBFCs (BAF) continuing to clock market share gains.

“The third wave of the pandemic is unlikely to impact Q3 earnings except in underlying sectors like travel and tourism that are already under stress.”

“However, we expect most lenders to maintain a surplus provisioning buffer for potential asset quality issues. We tweak our FY22E-FY24E forecasts for select lenders to factor in lower credit growth and marginally higher credit costs.”

Besides, HDFC Securities continue to prefer large banks with strong balance sheets and formidable deposit franchises.

Furthermore, it cited that business momentum continues to gather pace.

“In a quarter relatively unaffected by the pandemic and near-normal resumption of economic activity, we expect to see strong sequential growth in disbursements, particularly in retail and SME segments, riding on seasonal and pent- up demand.”

“Provisional filings suggest that banks within our coverage universe continue to gain market share as reflected in loan growth at 12 per cent YoY compared to system-wide YoY credit growth at 7 per cent.”

At present, the brokerage house has 23 lenders in its coverage universe including ICICI Bank, SBI, Bajaj Finance, SBI Cards, and Axis Bank.

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