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Hyundai Motor buys local life insurer

Hyundai Motor Group, South Korea's second-largest family-owned conglomerate, bought a local life insurer as it moves to expand in financial sector portfolio, business sources said Friday.

Financial sources said that Hyundai secured Green Cross Life Insurance for 228.3 billion won ($198.3 million) from Green Cross Holdings Corp. The holding company owned a stake of around 90 percent in the insurer ranked 18th by market share.

The takeover by the world's fifth-largest carmaker, with more than 60 affiliates, will increase the business areas covered by the conglomerate in the financial sector.

At present, it holds Hyundai Card Co., Hyundai Capital, HMC Investment Securities and Hyundai Commercial.   

"The new purchase will expand Hyundai's financial sector portfolio into life insurance," a financial insider said. The group only lacks a bank, which it cannot own due to state regulations.

Insiders said that Hyundai began engaging in talks to buy the life insurer early this year.

The purchase, meanwhile, is expected to impact South Korea's overall life insurance market, currently controlled by Samsung Life Insurance, Kyobo Life Insurance Co. and Korea Life Insurance, analysts said. (Yonhap News)

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