Cluster: Emerging Star
Price target: Rs1,054
Current market price: Rs815
Price target revised to Rs1,054
- Axis Bank's Q2FY2008 numbers are much above the market's and our expectations with the profit after tax (PAT) reporting a growth of 60.4% to Rs227.8 crore compared with our estimate of Rs199 crore. The high growth was driven by a robust increase in both interest and non-interest income segments. Due to the excellent set of numbers reported during Q2FY2008 we have upgraded our earnings estimates by 15.7% and 16.7% for FY2008 and FY2009 respectively.
- The net interest income (NII) was up by 72.9% year on year (yoy) and 39.9% quarter on quarter (qoq) to Rs588.7 crore. However the bank had raised capital of Rs4,534 crore during the quarter and excluding the possible interest income earned on such float funds, the quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) NII growth would moderate to 15.7%.
- The reported net interest margin (NIM) expanded by 36 basis points yoy and by 56 basis points qoq. Our calculation suggests that around six basis points were added to the NIM due to the possible income earned on the follow-on public offer (FPO) float funds. A marginal sequential increase in the NIM was expected as the asset yields were expected to improve after the low yielding priority sector advances taken on the books during Q4FY2007 had run off. However, the substantial portion of the expansion in the NIM was due to the improvement in the cost of funds brought about by the retirement of high-cost term deposits with the capital raised by the bank.
- The bank's assets grew by 39.8% yoy and 5.6% qoq, driven by a strong advances growth of 53.5% yoy and 8.3% qoq. The deposits grew by 30.9% yoy and 8% qoq with an improvement in the savings deposits, which grew by 48% yoy and 17% qoq. The term deposits declined by 7.9% qoq, which helped the bank to improve its reported cost of funds by 25 basis points sequentially to 6.18% from 6.43% in June 2007.
- The non-interest income was up 87% yoy and 4% qoq to Rs382.9 crore, driven by a higher trading income of Rs102.5 crore, which grew by 339% yoy and 6% qoq. The core fee income was also up by a robust 69% yoy and 7.1% qoq.
- The operating profit was up 85.3% yoy and 25.8% qoq to Rs368 crore while the core operating profit was up 70.8% yoy and 37% qoq to Rs368 crore. Provisions and contingencies grew by 236.3% yoy and 13.4% qoq to Rs114.5 crore. Despite the strong asset growth, the asset quality improved with the net non-performing assets (NPAs) at 0.55% of customer assets, down four basis points sequentially.
- Axis Bank raised capital to the tune of Rs4,534 crore through a combination of global depository receipt (GDR), qualified institutional placement (QIP) and preferential allotment during the quarter. This helped to improve its capital adequacy ratio (CAR) to 17.6% (from 11.5% in June 2007) with the Tier-I CAR at 13%. This substantial capital-raising programme (almost 25% of the pre-issue equity) has depressed its return on equity (RoE) to 13.6% from 19%, which is along the expected lines.
- The bank has also recently decided to foray into the mutual fund business. It has already set up its wealth management business and planned a private equity fund to invest in the infrastructure segment. We feel these are the building blocks that the bank management is putting in place and that would adequately complement its banking business. This strategy would also open up a new channel of steady fee income. Thus, its robust fee income growth could help in restoring the fall in its RoE much sooner than in the past occasions when it had raised capital. It has been registering a phenomenal asset growth without compromising on its margin and asset quality. All these developments make Axis Bank one of the best growth stories available in the private banking space.
- We have upgraded our earnings estimates by 15.7% and 16.7% for FY2008 and FY2009 respectively. The upward revision in the earnings is mainly because of the improvement in the core net interest income prospects with a decline in the term deposits during the quarter, the robust trend in the fee income and higher trading profits than envisaged at the beginning of the financial year. This has also resulted in our estimated RoE improving by 90 basis points and 150 basis points for FY2008 and FY2009 respectively.
- At the current market price of Rs815, the stock is quoting at 21.6x its FY2009E earnings per share (EPS), 10.1x its FY2009E pre-provisioning profit (PPP) and 3x its FY2009E book value (BV). We maintain our Buy recommendation on the stock with a revised 12-month forward price target of Rs1,054.