Aiful Climbs to Three-Year High as First-Half Profit Jumps

Aiful Corp. surged to a three-year high in Tokyo trading after the Japanese consumer lender posted an increase in first-half profit.

The shares gained 30 percent, the most in 21 months, to 312 yen at the close. Net income climbed 76 percent for the six months ended Sept. 30 from a year earlier to 19.6 billion yen ($247 million), the Kyoto-based company said yesterday.

“Their earnings had a positive impact on the market,” said Mitsushige Akino, who oversees $600 million in assets at Ichiyoshi Asset Management Co. in Tokyo.

Aiful and bigger rival Acom Co. are withstanding a regulatory crackdown that forced consumer-finance companies to pare loans and lower interest rates. Acom, whose biggest shareholder is Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., last week posted first-half net income of 27.2 billion yen, the Tokyo-based company’s second semiannual profit in three years.

Aiful was the day’s biggest gainer in the benchmark Topix Index, which slipped 0.02 percent. The stock has almost tripled this year, the fourth-best performance on the Topix.

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