* Q4 net profit 1.12 bln dhs vs 724 mln in 2011
* 2012 net profit 4.33 bln dhs vs 3.71 bln dhs in 2011
* Impairments 24 pct lower in Q4; full year 10.8 pct lower
* Profit boosted by higher investment and interest income
ABU DHABI, Jan 29 (Reuters) - National Bank of Abu Dhabi , the UAE's largest lender by market value, posted a 55-percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit, beating analysts' forecasts, helped by higher investment income and lower impairment charges.
The majority state-owned bank made a net profit of 1.12 billion dirhams ($305.2 million) in the fourth quarter compared with 724 million dirhams for the prior-year period, it said in a bourse statement on Tuesday.
Full-year profit was 4.33 billion dirhams, up 16.8 percent from 3.71 billion dirhams in 2011, NBAD said.
Analysts on average forecast a fourth-quarter profit of 876.5 million dirhams in a Reuters poll earlier this month.
"Our growth was a result of the success of our diversified business model, investment gains driven by favorable financial market conditions and successful hedging strategies," Michael Tomalin, NBAD's chief executive officer, said in the statement.
The lender also continued to expand its international presence by opening offices in China and Malaysia, and has set a target of expanding abroad from 14 countries to 41 countries by 2022, he said.
Net impairment charges for the fourth quarter stood at 365 million dirhams, down 24 percent from the prior-year period. Full-year charges reached 1.33 billion dirhams compared with 1.49 billion dirhams in 2011.
Loans and advances stood at 164.6 billion dirhams in 2012, down 3.2 percent compared with 2011, while deposits rose 25.4 per cent to 190.3 billion dirhams. Total assets grew 17.6 per cent during the year to 300.6 billion dirhams.
In November, the bank issued a 15-year 500 million Malaysian ringgit ($163 million) Islamic bond or sukuk, its third in the south Asian currency. NBAD earlier opened a wholly-owned subsidiary in the Malaysian capital
The bank is also looking at acquisitions in Asia and Africa as part of plans to double the proportion of profits it makes from abroad over the coming decade, its head of international banking said in December.
Shares in NBAD were suspended pending the earnings announcement. They are up 7.8 percent year-to-date. (Reporting by Stanley Carvalho; Editing by Mark Potter)