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* Card-payment company profit rose 3.6 pct vs Q3
* Cielo profit rose 21 pct compared with Q4 2011
* EBITDA missed outlook as operating costs rose
RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Cielo SA, Brazil's largest card-payment processor, posted fourth-quarter net income largely met analysts' estimates as higher operational costs and weaker financial results limited the impact of increased revenue.
The Barueri, Brazil-based company earned 610.3 million reais ($306.5 million) in the three months ending Dec. 31, 3.6 percent more than in the previous quarter, according to a filing on the Web site of the CVM, Brazil's securities regulator.
The result was less than 1 percent below the 615.4 million real average profit estimate of nine analysts in a Reuters poll.
Cielo's profit was 21 percent higher than the 504.5 million reais recorded in the year-earlier quarter.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a gauge of operational profitability known as EBITDA, rose 5.6 percent to 826.2 million reais from the previous quarter
EBITDA missed expectations as a 20.1 percent rise in net sales to 1.61 million reais was partly absorbed by a 36.3 percent jump in operational expenses to 265 million reais.
The EBITDA estimate in the Reuters poll was 983.8 million reais. Analysts in the poll expected net revenue of 1.69 billion reais in the fourth quarter.
Compared with the fourth quarter of 2011, EBITDA rose 25 percent.