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(Corrects last paragraph to clarify that Banco de Valencia had not returned ECB LTRO funds)
MADRID, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Spain's Caixabank, the banking business of financial services group La Caixa, on Friday posted a net profit of 230 million euros ($312.2 million) for 2012, down 78.2 percent and below forecasts from analysts polled by Reuters.
The Barcelona-based bank, hit like many of its peers by big provisions on troubled real estate assets in Spain, said net interest income last year was 3.87 billion euros, in line with analyst forecasts of 3.85 billion euros.
Caixabank said its bad loan ratio stood at 8.62 percent at the end of December.
The bank said that it had returned 4.5 bilion euros in so-called longer-term refinancing operations or LTROs taken from the European Central Bank. It added that it had helped Banco de Valencia, which it bought last year, with 4.5 billion euros in financing to that it could reduce its ECB funding by the same amount, though that was not an LTRO repayment. ($1 = 0.7367 euros) (Reporting by Clare Kane, Editing by Sarah White)