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ICBC posts 35.2% rise in 2008 profit
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The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the world's largest bank by market value, had become the most profitable bank in the world by posting a 35.2 percent rise in after-tax profits last year, the ICBC said Wednesday.

The bank's net profit totaled 114.431 billion yuan (US$16.75 billion) in 2008- as calculated by international accounting rules. Earnings per share in 2008 rose by 0.09 yuan to 0.33 yuan, the bank said.

The bank issued 536.8 billion yuan of new loans in 2008, up 14.3 percent year on year, the ICBC said.

The bank's core capital adequacy ratio reached 10.75 percent last year, while the non-performing loans ratio dropped 0.45 percentage points to 2.29 percent in 2008 as the ICBC enhanced its risk control amid the global financial crisis.

The bank also raised its provision coverage ratio to 130.15 percent last year to prevent risks from non-performing loans. That's 26.65 percentage points higher than the 2007 level.

Net interest income of the ICBC rose 17.2 percent to 38.57 billion yuan year-on-year. Other non-interest income surged 43.1 percent to 14.19 billion yuan last year.

The ICBC posted a higher profit growth than its rival, the Bank of China. The latter said Tuesday its 2008 net profit climbed 14.42 percent to 64.36 billion yuan.

The ICBC's shares dropped 1.57 percent to 3.77 yuan Wednesday.

(Xinhua News Agency March 26, 2009)

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