Woori Financial Group eyes securities, insurance M&As to complete portfolio: CEO

2019.05.24 13:25:08 | 2019.05.24 14:05:46

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South Korea’s Woori Financial Group which started anew as a holding structure from the beginning of the year is hungry for expansion through lucrative M&As, said its chief executive.

“Woori Financial Group’s M&A campaign has just begun,” Son Tae-seung, chairman and chief executive officer of Woori Financial Group told Maeil Business Newspaper on Thursday, referring to Woori Bank’s bid for Lotte Card.

Woori Bank, the financial conglomerate’s flagship lender, in a consortium with MBK Partners was tapped as the preferential candidate to acquire 80 percent stake in Lotte Card, the country’s fifth largest credit card issuer.

He hinted at that the next M&A target would be a brokerage house. “An insurance company and a brokerage unit would complete our non-banking portfolio, and the priority should be put on acquiring a securities firm,” Son said in hopes that a brokerage can create great synergy with its existing investment banking unit Woori investment Bank.

The country’s insurance sector undergoes restructuring more often than the securities industry, meaning there is a greater chance an insurer comes up to the market than a brokerage house.

After Woori Bank officially turned into a full-fledged financing conglomerate in January, Son vowed to actively seek for M&A targets in non-banking sectors, starting with small ones like asset managers and trust firm.

To achieve its M&A ambition, Son has been actively engaging with investors. Earlier this week, he went on a four-day IR road show tours in Japan and Hong Kong to attract capital to the company’s M&A projects.

Woori Financial Group last month acquired Tongyang Asset Management and ABL Global Asset Management, and it is near completing an acquisition deal over Kukje Asset Trust’s management rights. Also, the group plans to bring in Aju Capital Co. and Aju Savings Bank, which Woori Bank acquired major stakes in the two companies through a private equity fund in 2017, under its arm next year.

By Kim Gang-rae and Cho Jeehyun

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