* BoCom 2017 net profit up more than 4 percent
* NIM 1.58 percent end-December vs 1.57 percent end-Sept
* NPL ratio 1.5 percent end Dec vs 1.51 percent end-Sept (Recasts, adds milestone and details)
SHANGHAI, March 29 (Reuters) - Bank of Communications Co Ltd (BoCom), China's fifth-largest listed bank by assets, reported an 8 percent rise in quarterly net profit, the quickest pace of growth since 2013, helped by improving margins.
BoCom's results are in line with China's other large state-owned lenders, all of which have reported their best profit growth in years on better net interest margins.
BoCom on Thursday posted a net profit of 15.81 billion yuan ($2.51 billion) for the fourth quarter ended December 2017, versus 14.63 billion yuan a year ago, according to Reuters calculations based on the company's full-year figures.
That was above an average estimate of 12.88 billion yuan from 17 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
BoCom's net interest margins (NIM) - the difference between interest paid and earned by banks - rose slightly to 1.58 percent by end-December, from 1.57 percent at end-September.
For the full year, net profit rose more than 4 percent to 70.22 billion yuan, from 67.21 billion yuan a year ago.
BoCom's non-performing loan ratio was 1.5 percent by end-December, versus 1.51 percent at end-September. ($1 = 6.2896 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Engen Tham in Shanghai and Matthew Miller in Beijing; Editing by Himani Sarkar)