The British group International Personal Finance (IPF) has commenced trading in Bulgaria, where it will operate under the Provident Financial Bulgaria brand. In the beginning, Bulgaria will leverage the group’s existing Romanian infrastructure, especially in terms of expertise and support functions.
“Our investment in Bulgaria is supported by substantial capital investment and a core team of experienced managers. It is our ambition to have a fully autonomous Bulgarian business with a strong local management team”, said Ivo Kalik, Country Manager of Provident Financial Romania and Bulgaria.
The team that will lay the foundation of the Bulgarian business comprises managers from all of the Group’s European countries, who will work together with an initial team of over 25 Bulgarian employees. The company expects to invest around €3.5 million in its Bulgarian operations this year alone and expects to reach national coverage within 18 months of launch and to have around 100,000 customers in this country at maturity.
The company’s first branch was opened in Sofia by the Group’s CEO Gerard Ryan, on Wednesday 11 September. The event was also attended by Jonathan Allen, the UK Ambassador to Sofia, who commented: “It is a pleasure to welcome Provident to the Bulgarian marketplace. Over time we think that Provident will become a substantial employer in Bulgaria and its proven experience in operating in other European markets, including Romania, bodes well for a strong and sustainable Bulgarian operation that will be beneficial for our local and national economy.”
After the launch of the branch in Sofia, the company plans to expand its operations into Plovdiv by the end of the year before expanding eastwards into the coastal cities of Burgas and Varna early next year. The company expects to have 12 Bulgarian branches operational by March 2015.
Bulgaria is IPF’s latest new market entry and its launch comes shortly after the company commenced its operations in Lithuania, in July 2013.
About Provident Financial România
Provident Financial România is a non-banking financial institution enlisted in the General Register of the National Bank of Romania and is part of the British group IPF, that has over 2.4 million clients in eight countries from Central and Eastern Europe, as well as in Mexico. IPF is one of the largest British employer in Central and Eastern Europe and is one of the 250 most powerful international companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.
In the 7 years of presence on the local market, the company invested invested in Romania a total of €180 million and paid taxes to the state budget of more than €25 million. Provident has more than 780 employees and collaborates with about 3.800 independent agents in over 70 cities in the country (www.provident.ro).
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