Kyobo Life is eager to buy Woori Bank to improve its competitiveness against conglomerate-backed insurance firms, the head of the nation’s public fund committee said on Friday.
“Being solely an insurance company is limiting in terms of market share, especially because they have to compete with life insurance firms affiliated with conglomerates,” said Sohn Byung-doo, secretary general of the Secretariat to the Public Fund Oversight Committee.
The committee is the public fund unit of the Financial Services Commission, the nation’s financial watchdog.
Selling the Woori Financial Group in three separate chunks ― Woori Bank, Woori Investment & Securities and Woori’s regional banks ― has been a do-or-die mission for Sohn and Shin Je-yoon, the FSC head, as it is considered one of the nation’s key initiatives for financial sector reform.
“Kyobo has been preparing to get additional funding from foreign investors, such as JPMorgan and Macquarie,” Sohn said, indicating that the Korean life insurance firm was still considering other funding options.
The secretary general also mentioned the National Pension Service, one of the largest investors among pension funds, as another potential investor for Kyobo, along with the Korean Federation of Community Credit Cooperatives.
“The KFCC is cited as a new source of investment funds due to its diversification to other profit-yielding sectors because bonds and securities have not been as profitable as they used to be,” he said.
The KFCC has conducted M&A deals with MG Non-life Insurance and Tongyang Insurance Co.
The cooperative’s announcement it would buy Gwangju Bank is another example of such deals, Sohn said.
By Chung Joo-won (firstname.lastname@example.org