Published : 2013-08-14 15:22
Updated : 2013-08-14 15:22
The new head of KB Financial Group Inc. reiterated Wednesday that it is looking into possible options to strengthen its non-banking business ahead of the government's impending move to sell Woori Finance Holdings Co.'s brokerage units.
Group Chairman Lim Young-rok, who took office a month earlier, said that as the group has heavily focused on its banking business, it is striving to strengthen the competitive edge of its non-banking business.
"The group is currently studying possible options by reviewing whether (a potential takeover) would be in line with the group's push for enhancing the non-banking sectors," Lim told a press conference when asked whether the group has an interest in bidding for Woori Investment & Securities Co.
Lim said that the group has not predetermined specific non-banking companies for potential takeovers as it would be better to look into all candidates in the market, a move to gauge whether the group's push for takeovers could enhance business synergy and shareholders' value.
His remarks came as the government plans to sell the state-invested Woori Finance in three different sections -- regional banks, banking and brokerage units -- by the end of 2014.
The government plans to put up a public notice on Friday to sell Woori Investment & Securities and five other units in a bundle whose value is estimated to reach at least 1.5 trillion won ($1.34 billion).
The government said it plans to pick the preferred bidder by the end of this year after a preliminary bidding in October.
The move will be the second batch to be auctioned off after the financial regulator in July launched the process to sell Woori Finance's two regional banks as the first package.
NongHyup Financial Group Inc. said it is mulling buying Woori Investment & Securities Co. to diversify its business portfolio from a banking-oriented structure.
KB Financial Group previously had interest in merging with Woori Finance but decided to pull out of its bid in July 2012 apparently due to political pressure.
KB Financial is among the major Korean banking groups that are suffering from falling profitability amid a long streak of low rates and the economic slowdown.
Net profit from the group's flagship banking unit Kookmin Bank accounted for about 80 percent of the group's total earnings of 1.77 trillion won last year. (Yonhap News)