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International Personal Finance Considers Ukraine, Bulgaria

March 2 (Bloomberg) -- International Personal Finance Plc, a U.K. lender that makes unsecured loans to low-income households in central and eastern Europe and Mexico, may start operating in Ukraine and Bulgaria this year.

“Ukraine and Bulgaria are our top priorities,” Chief Executive Officer John Harnett said in a telephone interview. “Our focus is on emerging markets and we are trying to find markets that are moving into the growth phase.”

Net income jumped 80 percent to 59.2 million pounds ($96.2 million), or 23.1 pence a share, in 2010 from 32.8 million pounds, or 17.7 pence, a year earlier, the Leeds, England-based company said in a statement today.

Revenue rose 11 percent to 608.7 million pounds. Impairments for non-repayment of loans rose 2.3 percent to 168.1 million pounds.

International Personal Finance typically makes loans of 200 pounds to 500 pounds at interest rates of as much as 25 percent, Harnett said.

The shares were down 8 pence, or 2.4 percent, to 322 pence at the 4:30 p.m. close of London trading, paring the gain in the last six months to 31 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Woodifield in Edinburgh News at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at

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