Seoul to announce winners for govt stake in Woori on Monday after shortlisting 7

2021.11.19 11:12:38 | 2021.11.19 13:54:39

[Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]이미지 확대

[Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]

The offering of the remaining government stake of 10 percent in Woori Financial Group drew seven shortlisted bidders, without KT Corp. that had previously reviewed a bid.

The Financial Services Commission announced Thursday that it received bids from nine potential buyers and picked seven that proposed above the price guidance from the Public Fund Oversight Committee.

On Friday, shares of Woori Financial Group Inc., the holding entity of the namesake group, lost 3 percent to 13,100 won ($11.07), as of 10:40 a.m. in Seoul.

The Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC) is withdrawing from the financial institution it had nationalized in the wake of the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s through the remaining stake sale.

Upon privatization, Woori is expected to bulk up by adding non-banking under the holding family.

KDIC posted the sale in September and received preliminary commitment letters from 18 potential buyers, ranging from cryptocurrecny exchange operator Dunamu, Korea Investment & Securities, and Woori’s employee shareholder association to private equity firms and telecom giant KT. Of them, nine placed a bid. KT bowed out.

The winners of the stakes broken up in pieces will be announced next Monday after the financial authorities review bidding prices and other factors.

The sale comes amid high demand in banking due to rising interest rates.

Dunamu, operator of the country’s leading crypto exchange Upbit, is eager for a stake of minimum 1 percent to secure a bank partner for the crypto exchange. The company sits on a cash hoard of over 1 trillion won.

Korea Investment & Securities already owns 3.76 percent in Woori Financial Group. If the brokerage firm adds an additional 4 percent stake, it could seat one more outsider director it prefers. Having two directors on its side would allow the company to wield sizeable influence over Woori Financial Group under oligopolistic ownership.

Woori Financial Group is under multiple ownership structure, including KDIC owning 15.13 percent, National Pension Service with 9.8 percent, employees’ association with 8.8 percent, and IMM Private Equity with 5.62 percent. Korea Investment & Securities and Kiwoon Securities also hold 3.76 percent stake each.

By Kang Woo-seok, Moon Il-ho, Kim Yoo-shin and Cho Jeehyun

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