* H1 net rises 13 pct to 2.97 bln yuan, revenue falls 5 pct
* Chinese brokerages face rising challenges from foreign rivals
* Citic has agreed to buy a stake in CLSA, plans Hong Kong IPO (Adds background)
By Samuel Shen and Carrie Ho
SHANGHAI, July 13 (Reuters) - Citic Securities , China’s biggest listed brokerage, posted a 13.1 percent rise in first-half profit despite a fall in revenues amid a sluggish stock market.
Net profit for the January-June period rose to 2.97 billion yuan ($458.9 million) from 2.63 billion yuan a earlier, the company said in a preliminary earnings statement, without giving reasons. Revenues fell 5 percent to 7.5 billion yuan.
Chinese brokerages including Citic, Haitong Securities and Industrial Securities are competing fiercely for trading commissions from cautious investors worried about inflation and China’s growth prospects.
They also face increasing challenges from foreign rivals in the domestic underwriting business. Morgan Stanley , JPMorgan and Royal Bank of Scotland have all established investment banking ventures in China recently.
Last month, Citic Securities agreed to pay $374 million for a stake in Credit Agricole’s CLSA and Cheuvreux brokerage brands, as the Beijing-based brokerage steps up global expansion.
Earlier this year, Citic Securities unveiled plans to raise an estimated $2.7 billion through an initial public offering in Hong Kong to fund overseas expansion.
$1 = 6.472 yuan Reporting by Samuel Shen; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner