Top China brokerage CITIC posts 21.9% rise in 2020 profit on stock gains

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - CITIC Securities Co, China’s biggest brokerage, reported on Thursday a 21.9% rise in profit in 2020, led by strong gains in securities investments.

While unscathed by the pandemic last year, CITIC warned of an unpredictable recovery and the heightened risk of bond defaults.

The situation is “still complicated and grim”, the company said in a stock exchange filing.

Investments in fixed income are facing “credit risk changes and counterparty risk,” CITIC added.

Its 2020 net profit rose to 14.9 billion yuan ($2.29 billion) from 12.23 billion, the company said in a stock exchange filing.

The results were largely in line with preliminary results released in January.

The securities industry got off to a shaky start to the year on concerns China’s central bank might tighten policy, reining in lofty stock valuations, after the government set a more modest growth target for this year.

CITIC’s revenue generated from stock investment jumped by 32.73% to 24.9 billion yuan, while deal fees rose by around 50% to 5.66 billion yuan, the annual report showed.

China’s brokerages earned 157.5 billion yuan in net profit in 2020, up 28%, while their revenue rose by 24%, Securities Association of China data show.

CITIC shares in Hong Kong closed up 0.51% on Thursday at HK$15.70 prior to the results being announced, compared with a 1.28% rise in the broader market

Brokerage shares in Shanghai were down 0.38%.

Reporting by Cheng Leng in Beijing and Engen Tham in Shanghai; editing by Toby Chopra and Jason Neely