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By Jesús Aguado
MADRID (Reuters) -Spain's Caixabank on Friday said its fourth-quarter recurrent profit in 2021 fell 52% from the same period a year earlier due to lower one-off gains.
Caixabank, which in March closed the 4.3 billion euros acquisition of Bankia in a defensive deal to better cope with ultra low interest rates and the coronavirus pandemic, reported a underlying profit without extraordinary items related to the merger of 337 million euros ($375.82 million) in the October to December period.
The figure compares with a profit of 705 million euros in the same period a year ago when combining with Bankia's operations on a pro forma basis.
The accounting net profit in the quarter fell 35% to 425 million euros compared to a 433 million euros net profit expected by analysts polled by Reuters. Net profit in the same quarter last year without Bankia stood at 655 million euros.
The lender also said it aimed for a dividend cash pay-out policy of between 50-60% against 2022 consolidated earnings compared to a 50% pay-out rate in 2021. It also announced its intention to implement an open-market share buy-back programme during the 2022 fiscal year.
($1 = 0.8967 euros)
(Reporting by Jesús Aguado, editing by Inti Landauro)