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MUMBAI, Jan 29 (Reuters) - ICICI Bank Ltd, India's biggest private sector lender, posted its slowest quarterly growth in four years as asset quality worsened and funds set aside for bad loans and contingencies almost doubled from a year earlier.
Net profit reached 25.3 billion rupees ($404.12 million) in October-December from 22.5 billion a year earlier, the bank said on Wednesday. That was higher than the 24.6 billion rupee mean estimate of 23 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net interest income, or the difference between interest earned and paid, rose about 22 percent to 42.6 billion rupees.
Net non-performing loans as a percentage of total assets rose to 0.94 percent from 0.76 percent.
Net interest margin improved to 3.32 percent from 3.07 percent.
Shares of ICICI, with a market value of $18.6 billion, briefly fell after the results but pared losses to trade up 0.9 percent at 1,027.8 rupees at 0714 GMT. The broader market was up 0.43 percent.
ICICI's results compare with rivals Yes Bank Ltd, HDFC Bank Ltd and IndusInd Bank Ltd, which posted third-quarter profit growth of 21 percent, 25 percent, 30 percent respectively. ($1 = 62.6550 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Christopher Cushing)