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HONG KONG, March 25 (Reuters) - Bank of China Ltd, the country's No.4 lender, said on Tuesday its 2012 net profit rose 12.2 percent, beating analyst estimates, as wider margins from lending to smaller businesses helped offset a slowdown in its foreign operations.
Net profit increased to 139.4 billion yuan ($22.45 billion) from 124.2 billion yuan in 2011, Bank of China said. That compares with expectations for a 132.5 billion yuan profit, according to a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S survey of 31 analysts. ($1 = 6.2107 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Kelvin Soh; Editing by Ryan Woo)