CANADIA Bank reported improved results for the year-ended 2008, and also posted a substantial rise in provisions for nonperforming loans (NPLs) in its annual results published this week.
After-tax net profits rose almost 10 percent to US$22 million. Provisions for NPLs rose more than eightfold from $1.1 million to $9.2 million.
Vice President Dieter Billmeier said the stronger results were due to the bank broadening the sectors to which it lends - such as agriculture and services - and lending less to the construction industry.
"We are more prudent with that," he said of the bank's reduced exposure to the country's property sector. "Overall, we have put some reserves into nonperforming loans to be a safe haven for 2009."
Billmeier said the rise in NPLs - from less than half a percent of the company's loan book in 2007 to 2.35 percent last year - had come after discussions Canadia had with external auditors and on the advice of the National Bank of Cambodia, the country's central bank.
"We still feel very comfortable with that because we know where these loans are, and we are very confident that we will recover all of them," he said.
He confirmed that the portion of the loan book that was underperforming was construction and housing.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had noted in a review of the country's financial system earlier this year that some of the Kingdom's banks were under-reporting NPLs. The IMF called on the central bank to take a more proactive role in assessing NPLs.