AgBank of China Q4 net profit up 12.8 pct, within estimates

SHANGHAI, March 25 Tue Mar 25, 2014 5:00am EDT

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SHANGHAI, March 25 (Reuters) - Agricultural Bank of China Ltd (AgBank) posted on Tuesday a 12.8 percent rise in its fourth-quarter net profit, in line with estimates, helped by strong growth in fee and commission income.

Net profit for the quarter rose to 28.22 billion yuan ($4.57 billion) from 25.014 billion yuan in the same 2012 period. That compares with an average estimate of 29.0 billion yuan according to nine analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

For the full year, net profit rose 14.6 percent to 166.3 billion yuan from 145.1 billion yuan in 2012, China's third-largest lender said in its earnings statement.

AgBank's non-performing loan ratio fell slightly to 1.22 percent at end-December 2013 from 1.24 percent at end-September.

The bank's net interest margin dipped to 2.79 percent at the end of the fourth quarter, from 2.75 percent at the end of the third. ($1 = 6.1888 Chinese Yuan) (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom and Gabriel Wildau; Editing by Miral Fahmy)