ICBC Posts 77% Jump in First-Quarter Profit

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world's biggest bank by market value, posted a 77 percent jump in first-quarter profit on Tuesday, boosted by widening interest margins and fee income growth.

The lender said the face value of its U.S. subprime mortgage-backed securities was $1.2 billion at the end of March, and it booked an additional impairment provision of $48 million on top of the $400 million in provisions made in 2007.

ICBC also said it held structured investment vehicles (SIVs) with face value of $55 million and made $10 million in impairment provisions for them in the first quarter.

ICBC, in which Goldman Sachs, Allianz Group and American Express hold stakes, reported January-March earnings of 33.1 billion yuan ($4.7 billion), compared with 18.7 billion yuan a year earlier.

Macquarie had estimated the bank would post 29.8 billion yuan in net profit in the first quarter.

Its Hong Kong shares have risen 11 percent so far this year, outperforming a near 7-percent fall in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.

Its Shanghai-listed shares have fallen 20 percent.

The state-run lender said earlier that its net profit in the first quarter rose at least 50 percent, boosted by strong net interest income and rising fees.

Chinese corporate tax reforms that took effect this year also boosted profit.