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Warburg Pincus leads $100m funding round

Warburg Pincus has led the funding round into Ukraine consumer lending business IMB Group, as private equity firms step up their involvement in the country.

Global private equity firm Warburg Pincus has invested $43.8 million (€32 million) in a $100 million funding round into Ukraine consumer lending business IMB Group, which values the company at $263.5 million.

Ukraine buyout firm Horizon Capital has also invested $15 million, as have East Capital and an unnamed US investment bank. Warburg Pincus will join IMB’s supervisory board.

IMB increased its consumer loan portfolio from $9 million at the beginning of 2006 to over $71 million in 2007.

Buyout firms are highly interested in the Ukraine. Last month PEO reported Advent International plan to open an office there. Ukraine’s key attractions for private equity include its large population of about 47 million, with a common language and culture, and its economy which is growing rapidly.

President Viktor Yushchenko has advocated further integration with the European Union and the country has a flourishing stock market, which has grown ten-fold since the start of the decade.

Warburg Pincus has approximately $20 billion under management. In central and eastern Europe, the firm has invested around $450 million in 8 companies. Globally, Warburg Pincus has committed $2.4 billion to financial services companies, including Aeolus, Arch Capital Group and Dime Bancorp.