Sri Lanka’s HNB continues to demonstrate resilience under stressed conditions - Opportunity Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s HNB continues to demonstrate resilience under stressed conditions

Sri Lanka’s HNB continues to demonstrate resilience under stressed conditions

Daily FT: In the backdrop of turbulent market conditions, Hatton National Bank PLC said yesterday it continued to demonstrate resilience, strength and stability, posting a profit before tax of Rs 5.9 billion and a profit after tax of Rs 4.8 billion for the first quarter of 2022 recording a YOY growth of 7% and 3% respectively. At Group level PBT and PAT were at Rs 6.4 billion and Rs 5.4 billion respectively.
HNB Chairperson Aruni Goonetilleke said: “As Sri Lanka goes through unprecedented times, HNB has yet again demonstrated resilience. At this critical time, I wish to reiterate our commitment to all our stakeholders. As a responsible Domestic Systemically Important bank, ensuring safety, stability and sustainability is our prime focus.”
With the tightening of the monetary policy since August 2021, the AWPLR increased by nearly 400 bps over the 12 months up to March. This enabled the Bank to record a 59% increase in NII during 1Q 2022 compared to the corresponding period of the previous year. The Net Fee income grew by 42% YoY to Rs 3.2 billion for the first quarter of 2022, driven mainly by improved cards transactions and trade income.
The significant devaluation of the rupee as of March, compared to the previous year, resulted in trading gains of approximately Rs 7.5 billion in 1Q 2022. The Bank also, booked an impairment of Rs 7.4 billion against the impact of the currency devaluation on foreign currency denominated loans and investments, which was set-off against the position revaluations.
The Bank’s net stage III loan ratio improved from 2.55% as at December 2021 to 2.41% as at end March 2022 while stage III provision cover increased to 59%, maintaining its position as one of the best in the industry in asset quality. However, considering the significant volatility in macro-economic factors in 1Q 2022, the Bank recognised a higher impairment charge of Rs 13.4 billion. This included an impairment of Rs 6.7 billion on account of investments in foreign currency denominated Government securities, subsequent to the announcement made by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in relation to suspending the repayment of external foreign currency debt obligations of the Government and the sovereign rating downgrade.
Operating expenses increased by 21% in 1Q 2022 driven by salary revisions, relatively higher card transaction volumes with the pickup of economic activity and general expenses increasing in line with higher inflation. However, the stronger growth in income, enabled HNB to record a cost to income of 25% during the first quarter of 2022.
HNB’s total tax charge increased by 33% to Rs 2.8 billion for the first quarter. The effective income tax rate increased from 31% in March 2021 to 37% in March due to the YoY reduction in interest income from foreign currency denominated government securities.
Managing Director/CEO Jonathan Alles said: “Sri Lanka has been travelling through a tough terrain over the past few years commencing from adverse weather conditions experienced in 2017-2018 to, unfortunate Easter Sunday attacks in 2019 and then the most unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic which impacted the entire globe. The banking sector of Sri Lanka and HNB has weathered these challenges and emerged strong and stable.
“Today, Sri Lanka as a nation is facing one of the most challenging times in its history. The next few months would be even more challenging. As such, it is extremely important that we play our part as responsible Sri Lankans at individual, organisational and country level. We believe that the authorities would take necessary steps to ensure political, social, economic and financial stability enabling successful conclusion of discussions with International Monetary Fund, the multilateral organisations and supporting nations to secure much needed funding.”
“It is equally important that we focus on the real economy and sustainable foreign exchange earning avenues that will support us over the medium to long term. Providing necessary support to drive exports, remittances, tourism, manufacturing and industrial development would be key.
“At the same time, diversifying foreign exchange earning sources would also be important. Focusing on Sri Lanka as an education hub, promoting agri-preneurs, IT, KPO, BPO industries would also be vital in this regard. We need to be cautious about our spending, and purchase local products to support our micro, small and medium enterprises, while at the Government, institutional and corporate level, adopt very tight cost containment measures and slash budgets.”

OSL take:

The resilience shown by Sri Lanka’s HNB is an indication of the overall resilience of the country’s economy and the banking sector. Sri Lanka’s economy has faced many internal and external challenges through the years and is once again on the path to recovery after facing the pandemic challenges. With Sri Lanka’s development programme and plan to position the country as a growing business destination in the South Asian region, a strong banking system is an essential component to attract foreign businesses/investors. Along with the country’s expanding economy, there’s an increase in business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka. Given the country’s growing business potential, foreign businesses/investors could confidently explore opportunities in Sri Lanka.

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Article Code : VBS/AT/25052022/Z_9

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