SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) _ The International Monetary Fund approved a $840 million loan to Bulgaria aimed at supporting market reforms and economic growth in the next three years.

The loan, approved Friday, will help Bulgaria service its $9 billion foreign debt while simultaneously closing or selling inefficient state companies and revamping its social benefit system.

Finance Minister Muravei Radev said Saturday the government expected the loan to be matched with loans from the World Bank, the European Union and the G-24 group of developed countries.

Those loans would bring up the total loan amount to be received by Bulgaria in the next three years to $1.6 billion.

Radev said he expected that Bulgaria will reach its targeted 4 percent growth of the gross domestic product this year. He added inflation would be no more that 6 percent compared to 16.4 percent envisaged in the government budget.

The IMF projects Bulgaria's annual inflation this year to be 9 percent.