Deepak has posted on the current news around ICICI.
See - ICICI's Disclosure See-Saws: Openly Making Fools Of Us
Following is my comment . You can read the discussion and all the comments on his blog
Deepak - Although it would be good to have more disclosure, it may be risky for a bank to do so also.
In addition the changes in the loss estimates seem to be consistent with what is happening in the market. For derivatives, accounting requires that the losses of mark to market are passed through the P&L even if the contracts are held to maturity (see this year's berkshire hathaway AR for some discussion on this)
So as the markets are deteriorating, the mark to market losses could increase and the bank will have to recognize them. This is also consistent with the banks claims that these are held to maturity and may not have losses (similar to a goverment bond portfolio where you may have mark to losses, but if you hold the bonds to maturity there may be no losses).
I am not saying that is case with icici, but it may be possible. Also icici may be communicating only required information, but i really doubt they can fudge the data without a serious consequence.
Regarding the solvency, the bank has a networth of almost 12bn USD. Even if they lose 50% of their derivatives portfolio, you are looking at a drop in the CAR from 15% to somewhere around 13-14%. Not good for the stock, but definitely not a solvency issue. In addition the bank has a lot of assets on the books at book value like their insurance subs, icici direct etc. so they do have some hidden assets too.
disclosure - i am neither long nor short this stock
The above discussion does not mean that I think ICICI is a good investment or otherwise. A 250 Mn USD loss is still less than 1% of the asset base of the bank. The bank has a 1.47% Net NPA on its books. I am not sure if a 1% increase in NPA would have created such a hysteria.
On the contrary the bigger risk for the bank is the retail portfolio and NPA’s which can develop in the future or other hidden liabilities on the balance sheet.