India

India's ICICI Bank jumps to record high on robust second-quarter profit

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A man speaks on the phone outside an ICICI Bank branch in Kolkata, India, July 27, 2018. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/File Photo

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BENGALURU, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Shares of ICICI Bank Ltd (ICBK.NS), India's second-largest private sector lender, soared more than 14% to a record high on Monday, after reporting a higher quarterly profit on strong loan growth as the economy recovers from the second COVID-19 wave.

ICICI Bank's second-quarter results highlight a rebound in credit demand in India, as coronavirus cases decline and low interest rates boost spending on automobiles and homes. Larger rival HDFC Bank (HDBK.NS) also posted a profit jump as lending picked up.

ICICI Bank's net profit jumped 30% to a record 55.11 billion rupees ($735.30 million) for the quarter ended Sept. 30, the bank reported on Saturday, beating analysts' estimates for a profit of 49.94 billion rupees, according to Refinitiv data.

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The stock climbed to an all-time high of 867 rupees on Monday and is up 42% this year as of last close, compared to a 29% rise in the Nifty Bank index (.NSEBANK).

ICICI is transitioning well from being a "Beta stock" linked to credit cycles to an "Alpha stock" driven by growth, Jefferies said in a note. The brokerage raised its target price to 1,000 rupees from 900 rupees.

Loan growth and wider net interest margins were key drivers for the bank, Jefferies said, adding that it was gaining from a ramp up in loans to small and medium enterprises.

Net interest income grew 25%, while net interest margin rose to 4.00% from 3.57% a year ago.

The bank's domestic loan portfolio grew 19%, compared with a 6.7% growth in the sector. Its retail loan portfolio grew 20% and comprised 62.1% of its total loan portfolio as at Sept. 30.

The Mumbai-headquartered lender's asset quality improved, with gross bad loans as a ratio of total loans declining to 4.82%.

($1 = 74.9493 Indian rupees)

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Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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