ICBC says 1H net profit rises to record US$9.4 bln

China's biggest bank said Thursday that its first-half net profit jumped 57 percent from a year earlier to a record 64.5 billion yuan (US$9.4 billion), surpassing international rivals embroiled in the credit crisis.
Industrial & Commercial Bank of China's profit compared with 41 billion yuan for the same period last year.
"According to all the interim results that have been announced so far, ICBC has become the most profitable bank in the world in the first half of 2008," the bank said in a statement.
Chinese banks, with little exposure to U.S. mortgage securities and a booming economy back home, have flourished despite the miseries afflicting banks in the United States and Europe.
ICBC's earnings, which were in line with analysts' expectations, surpassed those of Britain's HSBC Holdings PLC, which reported US$7.7 billion in net profit in the first half of the year, down from US$10.9 billion in the first six months of 2007.
The world's largest bank by market capitalization, ICBC said it saw growth in all business areas, with a 29 percent surge in interest income to 131.8 billion yuan (US$19.2 billion) and a 51 percent jump in noninterest income, to 23.2 billion yuan. Its first-half net interest margin, the profit margin from lending, rose to 3 percent from 2.65 percent in the same period of 2007.
"During the first half, ICBC has overcome the negative impact from the volatility of financial markets and leveraged its strong customer base, extensive network and innovative product developments," the bank said.
ICBC's holdings of U.S. subprime mortgage securities were valued at US$1.2 billion, or only 0.09 percent of its total assets, while its holdings of U.S. mortgage securities and bonds related to the U.S. mortgage financiers Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae totaled about US$4.95 billion, it said.
ICBC said its holdings of non-performing loans declined to 2.4 percent of total lending from 2.7 percent at the end of last year.
The bank vowed to improve services and products to meet the challenges posed by the mortgage crisis, inflation and a slowing global economy, to "become a leading international financial institution."
The bank has been expanding internationally, having acquired stakes in South Africa's Standard Bank Group and Seng Heng Bank of Macau. It recently announced plans for branches in Doha, Sydney and New York and is seeking approval for a branch in Vietnam.
State-controlled ICBC is a behemoth even by China's standards, with assets as of June 30 worth 9.4 trillion yuan (US$1.4 trillion).
The bank's shares fell 2.1 percent Thursday to HK$5.12.

Updated : 2021-01-28 21:25 GMT+08:00