MILAN, March 26 (Reuters) - Italy's small lender Banca Popolare di Sondrio said on Tuesday its net profit in 2012 fell 53 percent to 34.3 million euros as non-performing loans took their toll.
The bank said it would pay a dividend of 0.033 euros per share from 0.09 euros the previous year.
The bank said earlier in March higher loan loss provisions would hit its 2012 net profit and dividend payout as it delayed publication of its results.
The lender is the latest Italian bank that has been forced to set aside more money to cover bad debts by the Bank of Italy, which has conducted simultaneous, months-long audits of around 20 domestic banks.
(Reporting By Stephen Jewkes, editing by Jennifer Clark)