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A pedestrian walks past a Laurentian Bank branch in Montreal.

CHRISTINNE MUSCHI/REUTERS

Laurentian Bank of Canada is boosting its dividend for the fourth time in less than two years after the Montreal-based bank's profits surged 71 per cent in the fourth quarter due in part to acquisitions.

The dividend will rise by 4 per cent, or two cents per share, to 49 cents in February to shareholders of record as of Jan. 3, 2013.

The bank has increased the payout three previous times since June 2011.

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Laurentian missed expectations despite recording revenue and profit increases in the fourth quarter and fiscal year.

The bank earned $45.7-million, and $42.4-million attributable to shareholders for the period ended Oct. 31. Earnings equalled $1.51 per share, up from 99 cents per share a year earlier.

Adjusting for one-time items, earnings were $36.2-million or $1.17 per share, compared to $33.4-million or $1.26 a year earlier.

Revenue increased 15 per cent to $210.4-million from $182.4-million in the year-ago period. The contribution from AGF Trust added $20-million of revenues while MRS Companies contributed $10.3-million.

For the full year, it earned $140.5-million on $796.6-million, compared to $123.7-million on $738.3-million in 2011.

Earnings attributable to shareholders was $127.7-million or $4.98 per share, up from $111.3-million or $4.65 per share a year earlier. There were no adjustments to earnings in 2012 but one-time items reduced 2011 profits to $130.4-million or $4.93 per share.

Laurentian Bank was expected to earn $1.31 per share in adjusted profits on $214-million of revenues in the quarter, and $5.11 per share on $799.5-million of revenues for the year, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

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