South Korea gets first round bids for two regional banks
South Korea got initial offers to purchase the two regional banks owned by Woori Finance Holdings. The South Korean government has a 57% stake in Woori, the largest financial group in the country. In an emailed statement to Bloomberg, Korea Deposit Insurance Corp said seven investors gave first round bids for Kwangju Bank while four offers were received for Kyongnam Bank.
While no investors were named, the Industrial Bank of Korea had said it submitted a bid for Kyongnam. Shinhan Financial Group Co also said it gave a preliminary bid for Kwangju. Meanwhile, Changwon Chamber of Commerce & Industry Spokesman Yun Jong Soo also told Bloomberg by phone that they had led a consortium of private equity funds and businessmen in submitting a bid for Kyongnam. Another business group, the Gwangju Chamber of Commerce & Industry, told Bloomberg through email that they had also given an offer for Kwangju.
According to Bloomberg, the South Korean government would be divesting the 57% share it holds from each bank. The government had been trying to sell its stake in Woori Holdings since 2010 in an effort to recoup taxpayers' money used to bail out its banks a decade ago.