* Q4 profit at 2.36 bln ringgit vs 1.84 bln analyst view
* Expects to post loan growth of 6-7 percent in 2017 (Adds company comment, further earnings details, loan growth forecast)
HONG KONG, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) , Malaysia’s largest lender by assets, reported a 43 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit on Thursday, beating analyst estimates, and forecast stronger loan growth in its core markets of Malaysia and Indonesia.
Loan growth and a rise in investment income helped push profit for the October-December period to 2.36 billion ringgit ($530.81 million), from 1.65 billion ringgit a year earlier, Maybank said in a statement to the stock exchange.
The result exceeded analysts’ average estimate of 1.84 billion ringgit, Thomson Reuters data showed.
Net interest income rose 1 percent to 2.96 billion ringgit from 2.93 billion ringgit a year earlier, Maybank said.
The bank posted a 5.7 percent rise in loans to 485.7 billion ringgit as at the end of December. It expects loan growth to be in the range of 6 percent to 7 percent this year, Maybank said.
“Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the group expects its financial performance for 2017 to be satisfactory given the persisting challenging global environment,” it said.
The bank’s net impaired loans ratio was 1.51 percent at the end of December, compared with 1.52 percent in the preceding quarter and 1.38 percent in the year-earlier period.
Maybank’s stock price fell 2.5 percent over the 12 months through Wednesday, making it the worst performer among Malaysia’s 10 banking-sector stocks which saw an average price gain of 10.9 pct in the same period.
The stock ended Thursday morning trade down 0.48 percent in a flat broader market.
$1 = 4.4460 ringgit Reporting by Michelle Price and Sumeet Chatterjee; Additional reporting Gaurav Dogra; Editing by Christopher Cushing