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Aug 30 (Reuters) - Bank of Communications (BoCom) , China's fifth-biggest lender, posted an 18 percent rise in net profit during the January-June period, its slowest first-half growth in three years, as a slowing economy sapped demand for loans.
First-half net profit came in at 31.09 billion yuan ($5 billion) versus 26.4 billion yuan a year earlier. Six analysts polled by Reuters had predicted profit to rise 12.5 percent to 29.7 billion yuan.
Based on that figure, its second-quarter profit was up 15 percent at 15.21 billion yuan vs 13.116 billion yuan a year earlier, its slowest pace of growth since the third quarter of 2009, according to Reuters calculations.
BoCom, about one-fifth owned by HSBC Holdings Plc , plans to raise $8.9 billion through a private placement of shares to strengthen its balance sheet and support loan expansion. (Reporting by Samuel Shen in Shanghai and Kelvin Soh in Hong Kong; Editing by Kazunori Takada and Jacqueline Wong)