* Q3 net profit up 3.5 pct, slightly below analysts’ forecasts
* Net interest margins and bad loans steady
* Net interest income slides (Recasts, adds background)
SHANGHAI, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Bank of Communications Co Ltd , China’s fifth-largest listed bank by assets, posted a 3.5 percent rise in third-quarter net profit as margins and bad loans held steady.
China’s largest state-owned lenders have reported an uptick in profit growth this year and stabilising balance sheets, after successive quarters of shrinking margins and rising bad loans.
The results follow Beijing’s attempts to ease the burden of banks with a slew of measures, including debt-for-equity swaps for struggling borrowers.
BoCom on Friday posted a net profit of 15.44 billion yuan ($2.32 billion) for the July-September period, up slightly from 14.92 billion yuan a year earlier.
That is slightly below the 4 percent average rise in third quarter net profit estimated by four analysts surveyed by Reuters.
BoCom’s net interest margin was 1.57 percent at end-September, up 1 basis point compared with that in the second quarter.
Although net interest margin inched up slightly, BoCom reported that net interest income - the money it made from loans - fell around 6 percent in the first nine months from the year-earlier period to 94.8 billion yuan.
The bank’s non-performing loan ratio was 1.51 percent at end-September, unchanged from end-June.
$1 = 6.6512 Chinese yuan Reporting by Engen Tham in SHANGHAI and Shu Zhang in BEIJING; Editing by Jacqueline Wong