KB Financial Group has embarked on a policy to reinforce its nonbanking units, focusing on a group of auction targets in the merger and acquisition market.
Under the initiative of its chairman Lim Young-rok, the group is seeking to diversify its earnings portfolio to overcome its reliance on first-tier banking.
“Our nonbanking businesses lag behind several competitors. We plan to participate in the coming bids for stock brokerage houses or insurance firms,” said a group spokesman.
He stressed that the KB chief has continued to express his resolve to bolster the nonbanking units since taking office in July 2013. “The initial goal is to win the bid for LIG Insurance.”
KB has been picked as one of the few powerful contenders that joined the bidding competition to take over LIG Insurance in late March.
In the securities sector, it is reportedly poised to tender a letter of intent for big brokerage firms such as KDB Daewoo Securities or Hyundai Securities.
Some market insiders predict that the state-run KDB Financial Group will put KDB Daewoo Securities up for auction as early as the second half of 2014 in a bid to secure operating funds. KDB Financial has to bear the burden of losses from bailing out embattled conglomerates including STX Group.
Hyundai Group, led by chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun, is also considering selling off its brokerage unit due to worsening cash flow problems.
Currently, KB Investment & Securities lags behind Shinhan Investment Corp. and Hana Daetoo Securities in market share, a research analyst said.
“Enhancing the brokerage sector is urgent for KB Financial Group amid the keen competition with Shinhan Financial Group and Hana Financial Group,” he said.
In another nonbanking segment, the group to integrated its capital services units to launch KB Capital last month.
Meanwhile, KB has yielded to NongHyup Financial Group in the recent bidding competition to acquire Woori Investment & Securities.
By Kim Yon-se (firstname.lastname@example.org)