*Q4 loss/shr $1.47 vs est $2.03
* Loan loss provision $216.4 mln vs $345.9 mln last quarter
Feb 17 (Reuters) - U.S. commercial real estate lender iStar Financial Inc SFI.N reported a narrower-than-expected fourth-quarter loss, helped by a drop in loan loss provisions sequentially.
Net loss allocable to common shareholders was $159.2 million, or $1.65 a share, for the quarter, compared with a year-ago loss of $24 million, or 20 cents a share.
Excluding certain items, the loss was $1.47 a share.
Analysts were expecting iStar to post a loss of $2.03 a share, excluding items, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Quarterly revenue fell more than 30 percent to $199.8 million.
“The year-over-year decrease is primarily due to a reduction of interest income resulting from an increase in non-performing loans and an overall smaller asset base,” the company said.
The company saw a 43 percent plunge in interest income to $113.7 million in the quarter, taking the net investment income down to $192.1 million from $431.6 million in the last year.
Provision for loan losses stood at $216.4 million from $345.9 million sequentially.
The credit crisis has forced lenders such as iStar to take provisions for possible loan defaults and write down the value of some of their loans.
Shares of the company closed at $2.94 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Archana Shankar in Bangalore; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy)