Italy's BPER swings to Q4 profit, to pay 0.04 euro/share dividend

MILAN, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Italy’s BPER Banca swung to profit in the fourth quarter, beating expectations thanks to falling costs and slighter higher revenues.

Italy’s fifth-largest bank said on Wednesday it would pay a dividend of 0.04 euros per share in full compliance with the prudent guidelines given by the European Central Bank.

BPER’s profit for the three months through December was 45 million euros, compared with a loss of 143 million euros a year earlier, when it was hit by one-off costs for staff exits and writedowns needed to ease a sale of bad debts.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast on average a fourth-quarter net profit of 38.6 million euros. (Reporting by Andrea Mandalà; editing by Valentina Za)