October 23, 2013 / 6:55 AM / 4 years ago

Lender IPF hits 2.5 million customer mark as profits rise

* Q3 pretax profit 32.5 million pounds, up 19 percent

* Plans to expand into Mexico City on track

LONDON, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Emerging markets lender International Personal Finance said its customer numbers had topped 2.5 million, helping it increase third-quarter profit by 19 percent and leaving it well-placed to achieve a good performance for the full year.

The London-listed company, which lends to customers across eastern Europe and Mexico, said its pretax profit rose to 32.5 million pounds ($52.7 million) during the period.

Chief Executive Gerard Ryan said it its customer numbers rose by 4 percent, aided by expansion into Lithuania in July, Bulgaria in September and the opening of a new branch in Mexico. He added that plans to expand into Mexico City were on track.

"We have made good progress in the quarter with our expansion into Lithuania and Bulgaria and the further roll out of longer term loans and preferential pricing for our best customers," he said on Wednesday.

The company, which also lends in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, said a 60 million pound share buy-back programme it announced earlier in the year was close to completion with 52 million pounds worth of shares bought so far.

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