A branch office of Axis Bank in New Delhi. Photo: Reuters

No end is in sight for India’s third largest private bank, Axis, after fourth quarter results showed a mild improvement, but are likely to add to its pain as controversies have dogged the institution for most of 2016 and 2017, Livemint reported.

Axis Bank, whose stock price opened on Thursday at 523.10 rupees on the Bombay Stock Exchange, saw both its gross and net non-performing assets (NPAs) decline as a percentage of its total loan book. Its gross NPA ratio dipped to 5.04% in the fourth quarter, while the net ratio fell to 2.11%. At 10.12am, the price slumped to 508 rupees.

But management has warned against extrapolating the fourth quarter’s relatively better ratios to future earnings expectations.

Fresh slippages have not diminished, rising to 4.811 billion rupees in the March quarter, although much of it has been from the watchlist of NPAs this time. The watchlist stood at 9.436 billion rupees as of the end of March, after having shrunk 58% since it came into existence.

Axis Bank’s chief financial officer Jairam Sridharan has said that the watchlist would cease to exist by the end of 2017-18 as accounts would either slip or be classified as standard loans.

The problem is that the management has refused to give guidance on future slippages from the watchlist. About 16.311 billion rupees, or 71% of the watchlist, has already slipped.

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