Hang Seng Bank's net profit is expected to have fallen 21 per cent to $7.4 billion for 1998 when it reports final results alongside its parent HSBC Holdings on Monday, according to a consensus of analysts contained in the latest issue of the Estimate Directory . Lehman Brothers banking analyst Thomas Monaco forecast a fourfold increase in provisions to $2.6 billion from $635 million in 1997, dragging profit down 29 per cent to $6.6 billion. Lehman said that after discussions with management, it had estimated Hang Seng's total mainland exposure to be $4.6 billion, or 2.3 per cent of its loan book. Total exposure to mainland international trust and investment corporations (Itics) was estimated to be $1.4 billion, or 0.7 per cent, and exposure to bankrupt Guangdong International Trust and Investment Corp (Gitic) $717 million, or 0.4 per cent of the loan book. 'If Hang Seng provided 100 per cent provisioning for its estimated $700 million Gitic exposure . . . [and] took an additional 20 per cent provision on its remaining $1.4 billion Itic exposure . . . earnings could be dragged down by a further 8 per cent,' the investment bank said. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter also forecast a 29 per cent fall in earnings with non-performing loans (NPLs) in the 4 per cent range. 'We expect the bank to be ahead of the curve in terms of reporting NPLs and taking loan-loss provision charges,' the bank said. Morgan Stanley estimated loan-loss provisions at 1.35 per cent of loans for 1998, a specific provisions coverage of 45 per cent and total provisions coverage of 63 per cent.