Household International Inc., seen as the most likely contender to buy finance company Beneficial Corp., increased its net income more than 27% in 1997, to $686.6 million, according to an annual report filed last week.

The company, based in Prospect Heights, Ill., also increased its home equity receivables more than 38%, to $11.06 billion, largely because of its acquisition of Transamerica Corp.'s consumer finance subsidiary.

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