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ICICI Bank hits record high on upbeat December quarter results

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FILE PHOTO - Monitor of an automated teller machine of ICICI bank is pictured inside a counter in New Delhi
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MUMBAI(Reuters) - Shares of ICICI Bank rose as much as 5.2% to an all-time high on Monday, after India's second-largest private lender reported strong December quarter results buoyed by improved loan growth.

On Saturday, ICICI Bank reported https://www.bseindia.com/xml-data/corpfiling/AttachLive/c604cdfb-5c70-4245-926b-1c97e36a0203.pdf a robust 19% year-on-year increase in net profit for the three months ended Dec. 31, although provisions also rose.

Net profit rose to 49.39 billion rupees ($677.72 million) in the December quarter, compared with 41.46 billion rupees a year ago.

The bank "is best placed among peer banks given its low exposure towards riskier segments in current scenario," analysts at brokerage PhilipCapital said in a note.

"With strong balance sheet and capital position, the bank is geared to capitalise growth opportunity in the system."

Other analysts said the bank's strong performance in its loan book, growing 10% year-on-year in the December quarter, was led by retail, with sustainable growth coming from home loans and business banking.

ICICI's robust loan growth comes despite tepid system-wide credit expansion, which has been in low single digits in the current financial year.

"Strong liability side, capital position and growing digital capabilities should help the bank maintain robust operating profits," Ambit Capital said in a note.

ICICI's total deposits rose 22% year-on-year to 8.74 trillion rupees, with term deposits rising 26%.

ICICI was the top boost to the bluechip Nifty 50 index, which was up 0.7%.

($1 = 72.8770 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Nupur Anand in Mumbai and additional reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)