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Woori Bank CEO to seek overseas investors

The head of Woori Bank, South Korea’s recently privatized lender, will soon embark on a trip to find investors to take over the government’s remaining stake, the bank said Friday. 

Woori Bank CEO Lee Kwang-goo (Yonhap)
Woori Bank CEO Lee Kwang-goo (Yonhap)

Woori Bank CEO Lee Kwang-goo will meet potential overseas investors in the first half of the year in an attempt to seek buyers of stake held by the state deposit insurer.

Korea Deposit Insurance Corp. holds 21 percent of Korea’s second-largest lender by assets.

Lee, whose term was extended for a second time for the next two years, held a series of investor relations sessions in Europe and the US last year, accomplishing a successful privatization of the lender 16 years after the government became the controlling owner.

In the aftermath of the 1998 Asian financial crisis, the government poured a total of 12.8 trillion won ($11.2 billion) into Woori Bank to save it, owning a controlling 51 percent stake. The government’s attempt to sell its stake to private investors had failed due to the massive size and a global economic downturn. But the government sold its 30 percent stake to six buyers including IMM Private Equity and Mirae Asset Global Investments Co. in December 2016.

Shares in Wooribank Bank closed up 1.83 percent, or 250 won, to 13,900 won on Friday.

The six private investors who took the government’s stake in December last year at 11,763 won saw their share value increased by 18 percent as of Friday. 

By Park Ga-young (gypark@heraldcorp.com)
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