SAO PAULO, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Brazilian miner Vale reported on Thursday a 35% decrease in its net profit for the fourth quarter from a year earlier, hit by higher provisions related to its joint venture Samarco. Vale, one of the largest iron ore producers in the world, posted a $2.42 billion net profit for the quarter ended in December, while analysts polled by LSEG were expecting a $4.15 billion profit.

A $1.2 billion provision related to charges from the 2015 collapse of a tailings dam that caused a giant mudslide that killed 19 people and severely polluted the Rio Doce river hit Vale's bottom line.

BHP, which was Vale's partner in the Samarco joint venture that owned the dam, said last week it would record another

$3.2 billion impairment

related to the case.

Recurring adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) grew 37% in the quarter from a year earlier to $6.33 billion, while analysts had estimated 6.32 billion reais.

Sales revenue rose 9.3% to $13.05 billion, versus 13.15 billion reais forecast by analysts.

Vale's earnings come as succession at the helm of the company is uncertain, with its board


between re-electing current chief executive Eduardo Bartolomeo and choosing a new name. (Reporting by Andre Romani and Peter Frontini; Editing by Anthony Esposito)