Net profit of the Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. (ABC) rose 19.1 percent from a year earlier to 51.1 billion yuan (US$7.5 billion) in 2008, according to statistics the bank released on Sunday.
The ABC, which officially became a shareholding company from a state-owned bank on Friday, saw a great improvement in profitability last year, ABC President Zhang Yun said at an annual work conference concluded on Sunday.
ABC's return on assets (ROA) was 0.79 percent last year, while its return on equity (ROE) was 19.1 percent. However, it did not provide comparative figures for 2007.
There were 807.8 billion yuan in newly-added deposits last year, up 15 percent year on year. Outstanding agriculture-related loans totaled 933 billion yuan by the end of December, 135.3 billion yuan more compared with the same period of 2007.
"ABC will adhere to its orientation of providing financial services to rural areas," said Zhang.
ABC planned an increase of 160 billion yuan in agriculture-related loans in 2009, according to Zhang.
In 2009, the bank would also explore high-quality urban customers, including infrastructure construction companies, high-tech industries and major projects to improve people's livelihood, in a bid to improve its competitiveness in cities, he said.
(Xinhua News Agency January 19, 2009)