MUMBAI, Jan 31 (Reuters) - India's No. 2 lender ICICI Bank Ltd posted a forecast-beating 30.2 percent rise in third quarter net profit, led by strong loan growth and fee-based income, it said on Friday.
The bank posted a net profit of 22.5 billion rupees ($421.39 million) in October-December, compared with 17.28 billion rupees a year earlier. Net interest income, or the difference between income earned and interest expended, rose 29 percent to nearly 35 billion rupees.
Analysts, on average, had estimated net profit of 20.8 billion rupees, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net non-performing loans at the bank stood at 0.76 percent of its total assets compared with 0.83 percent a year earlier.
Net interest margin, a key gauge of profitability for banks, improved by 37 basis points to 3.07 percent in the December quarter compared with a year earlier. ($1 = 53.3950 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee)