China Minsheng Banking Corp, the nation's first listed non-State lender, showed a significant rise in net profit in the first half, benefiting from higher lending growth and a one-time gain from the sale of its equity investment in a brokerage firm.
In a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the bank said its net profit for the first six months was 7.37 billion yuan ($1.08 billion), up 22.07 percent from a year earlier.
The bank's half-year results, coming ahead of its imminent initial public offering in Hong Kong, was better than the average profit level of the nation's 12 joint-stock lenders, which posted an average 19.3 percent year-on-year decline in net profit during the first half.
"The bank's massive lending in the first half has largely offset the pressure that a shrinking interest margin imposed on the bank's profitability," She Minhua, a banking analyst at CITIC Securities said.
The bank advanced a total of 903.9 billion yuan in loans during the first half, up 245.6 billion yuan from the end of 2008, while total deposits touched some 1.08 trillion yuan for the same period, it said.
The bank's profits ballooned through the 3.8 billion yuan in income it earned from selling its holdings in Haitong Securities. Minsheng Bank ended its five-year investment in the nation's third biggest brokerage by selling the entire 381 million shares it held in late June.
Due to the galloping lending growth in the first half, the bank has seen its core capital ratio and capital adequacy ratio drop to 5.9 percent and 8.48 percent respectively, barely above the industry requirement of 4 percent and 8 percent.
"That's why the bank is stepping up to get listed in Hong Kong, which could beef up its capital base significantly," She said.