BEIJING, Mar 26, 2009 The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the world's largest bank by market value, had become the most profitable bank in the world by posting a 35.2 per cent rise in after-tax profits last year, the ICBC said Wednesday. The bank's net profit totaled 114.431 billion yuan (US$16.75 billion) in 2008- as calculated by international accounting rules.
* Earnings per share in 2008 rose by 0.09 yuan to 0.33 yuan, the bank said.
* The bank issued 536.8 billion yuan of new loans in 2008, up 14.3 per cent year on year, the ICBC said.
"In an extremely volatile business environment, the bank continued its vigorous profit growth," it said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
"The bank accelerated its innovation, adjusted its business structure, broadened its sources of income and cut back its expenditures," the statement said.
The bank said its non-performing loan ratio fell to 2.29 percent at the end of 2008 from 2.74 percent a year earlier, the ninth consecutive year that the ratio has fallen, it said.
But ICBC warned in its statement that the coming year would be difficult given the continued impact of the global financial meltdown.
"We must stay alert and think ahead. We are well aware that the bank will face severe challenges in 2009, and at the same time, 2009 presents us with significant development opportunity," the statement said.