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Nov. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Paragon Group Cos., a U.K. mortgage company that curtailed lending to landlords, said fiscal full-year profit rose 31 percent on strong customer retention and an improving credit performance.

Net income in the 12 months to Sept. 30 rose to 53.9 million pounds ($85.2 million) from 41.1 million pounds a year earlier, the Solihull, England-based company said in a statement today. Bad-loan provisions declined to 39.2 million pounds from 66.2 million pounds.

“The group’s financial position is strong, leaving us well placed to deal with the economy’s uncertainties and to exploit the opportunities ahead,” Chief Executive Officer Nigel Terrington said. “We fully expect that our new lending program will expand over time.”

Arrears in buy-to-let products declined and the company returned to new mortgage lending at the end of year, Paragon said. The company curtailed lending in 2007 after credit markets closed and British bank Northern Rock Plc received an emergency bailout.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gavin Finch in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at

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