Woori Finance will sell brokerage, other assets

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Woori Finance will sell brokerage, other assets

Woori Finance Holdings’ board voted to sell stakes in its brokerage unit and two other assets to NH Financial Group for about 1.04 trillion won ($1 billion), two people with knowledge of the matter said.

The board of Korea’s biggest financial group by assets approved the deal said the sources, who asked not to be named as the decision isn’t public.

NH Financial was named as the preferred bidder in December for the package of assets, which includes a 38 percent stake in Woori Investment and Securities, the nation’s largest brokerage by assets. Closely held NH Financial will also get 99 percent of the life insurance unit and all of a savings bank.

Woori Finance, formed out of a bailout of the country’s weakest banks more than a decade ago, is selling the units on behalf of South Korea’s government, which is seeking to recoup public funds used in the rescue. Investing in Woori Investment may allow NH to shift its focus away from banking at a time when profits in that industry are declining.

The total sale will amount to 1.07 trillion won, with Woori Finance to be paid 1.04 trillion won and the remainder to go to Aviva, which is selling its 47 percent stake in the life insurer, the people said.

A spokesman for Woori Finance confirmed the board’s approval of the sale yesterday, while declining to comment on the price. Park Sang-yong, chairman of the Public Fund Oversight Committee, which is overseeing the privatization, declined to comment.

NH Financial provides financial services including banking and broking. The Seoul-based firm is wholly owned by the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation.

Bloomberg

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