Axis Bank
People use a staircase next to a corporate branch office of Axis Bank in New Delhi July 18, 2013.Reuters File

Axix Bank reported a marginal fall of 1.2 percent in net profit to Rs. 2,154.28 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 2016 due to a sharp rise in provisioning for bad loans. The private-sector lender had posted a profit of Rs. 2,180.59 crore in the corresponding period last fiscal.

A CNBC-TV18 poll had estimated the bank's net profit at Rs.2,027.5 crore. 

The provisioning for bad loans during the quarter was Rs. 1,168 crore, up 64 percent from Rs. 709 crore during the quarter ended March 2015.

The net interest income (NII) for the quarter was Rs. 4,552 crore, up 19.78 percent from Rs. 3,800 crore in the year-ago period, according to the bank's regulatory filing with the stock exchanges on Tuesday. The poll had estimated NII to come lower at Rs. 4,295 crore.

Total income for the quarter was Rs. 13,593 crore, up from Rs. 12,384 crore for March 2015 quarter.

Net non-performing assets (NPAs) as a percentage of total advances rose to 0.70 percent from 0.44 percent for the March 2015 quarter but down from 0.75 percent for the December 2015 quarter. Gross NPAs for the March 2016 quarter was 1.67 percent.

The bank proposed a dividend of Rs. 5 per share, or 250 percent, as approved by its board of directors who met on Monday and Tuesday to consider and adopt the audited results.

For the financial year ended March 31, 2016, the bank's net profit increased to Rs. 8,223.66 crore from Rs. 7,357.82 crore in the previous financial year.

The bank said retail advances grew higher at 24 percent as against the 22 percent growth in the corporate loan book on a year-on-year basis.

The Axis Bank stock closed at Rs. 480.45 on the BSE on Tuesday, up 2.22 percent from its previous close. The results were declared after trading hours. 

Last week, India's second-largest private sector lender, HDFC Bank, said its net profit grew 20 percent to Rs. 3,374.20 crore on a year-on-year basis for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2016. The net interest income grew 24 percent to Rs. 7,453 crore.

India's top three private sector lenders are ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank.