* Q4 EPS $0.43 vs est. $0.41
* Recorded after-tax gain of $102 mln in Q4 from Vantiv share sale
* Sees lower loan loss allowance in Q1 vs Q4
Jan 17 (Reuters) - U.S. regional bank Fifth Third Bancorp posted a higher quarterly profit on gains from its share sale in payment processor Vantiv Inc and said it would set aside less money to cover soured loans in the first quarter.
Net income available to common shareholders rose to $390 million, or 43 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, from $305 million, or 33 cents per share, a year earlier.
Analysts on average expected the lender to earn 41 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The bank said it expects lower interest margins and loan loss reserves in 2013. It also expects net charge-offs to fall about $200 million for the year.
Fifth Third realized an after-tax gain of $102 million, in the fourth quarter, from the sale of its shares in Vantiv, which went public in March last year.
Cincinnati, Ohio-based Fifth Third said after-tax results also included $87 million in charges related to the termination of Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) debt.
Fifth Third had in December sold 12.1 million shares of Vantiv Class A stock in a secondary offering. It also decided to prepay $1 billion of FHLB debt scheduled to mature on Jan. 5, 2016.
Fifth Third shares, which have risen nearly 7 percent in the last month, closed at $15.50 on Wednesday on the Nasdaq.