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ICICI Bank says foreign market exposure small

By BS Reporter in Mumbai
September 19, 2008 09:52 IST
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While maintaining that it had the capability to handle market movements, ICICI Bank, the country's second largest bank, on Thursday said that its exposure to global papers was to the tune of $3 billion. Of this, around $600 million was in mortgage-backed securities and another $500 million in corporate bonds.

"Our India book is actually insulated from all this non-India exposure. But we have a small global book and like any other bank, you have inter-bank transactions and there are some bank investments," Chanda Kochhar, joint managing director and CFO, ICICI Bank, told a television channel.

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She, however, said that it was difficult to estimate the extent of mark-to-market provisions that the bank would have to make during the second quarter as the market dynamics kept changing.

"What is required is as on September 30, whatever would be the market value, we would provide for that in the books. But I would only like to say that quantum is not going to be very large, given the size of our balance sheet, profits and capital adequacy," Kochhar said.

On Thursday, the bank's stocks declined 2.8 per cent to Rs 575.85 on Kochhar's statement. It had fallen 14 per cent over the previous three sessions on concerns that its exposure to the global financial crisis could erode earnings.

On Tuesday, the country's second largest bank disclosed that its UK subsidiary has an exposure of $80 million to bonds issued by Lehman Brothers that has filed for bankruptcy in the US. Though ICICI Bank said that fresh provisions will be about $28 million, the stock continued to decline, partly owing to rumors of the top management selling its shares. However, the bank denied the reports.

On Tuesday, brokerage firm Edelweiss Capital said that it expected ICICI Bank to post about $200 million in losses on bonds, including debt issued by Lehman. Its estimates were based on possible impact of the investment in mortgage-backed securities and in corporate bonds, which may face mark-to-market provisions since spreads have gone up. The balance, which is invested in certificate of deposits, is not subject to MTM provisions, it had said.
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BS Reporter in Mumbai
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