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ICICI Climbs After First-Quarter Profit Rises 17%

ICICI Bank Ltd., India’s second-biggest lender, climbed the most in more than a month in Mumbai trading after first-quarter profit rose 17 percent as it cut provisions and increased fee income.

Shares of ICICI traded at 926.2 rupees, up 2.4 percent, as of 9:24 a.m. local time after earlier gaining as much as 3.4 percent, the most since June 21 in intraday trading. Net income advanced to 10.3 billion rupees ($222 million) in the three months ended June 30, from 8.78 billion rupees a year earlier, the Mumbai-based bank said July 31.

ICICI expects total loan growth of 15 percent for the year ending March 31 as companies and consumers borrow more, Chief Executive Officer Chanda Kochhar said July 31. The second consecutive quarter of profit growth may bolster Kochhar’s efforts to tap accelerating credit demand in an economy that is forecast to grow by 8.5 percent in the year to March 31.

“The numbers suggest that credit quality recovery is picking up,” Brian Hunsaker, an analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Asia Ltd. in Hong Kong, said by telephone today. He rates the stock as “outperform.” “That’s been a key issue for this stock, and could explain why the markets like the numbers.”

The lender reduced provisions by 40 percent to 7.98 billion rupees from 13.24 billion rupees a year earlier, according to an e-mailed statement. ICICI’s fee income climbed 7 percent.

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