KDB Life buyer makes it to next step

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KDB Life buyer makes it to next step

KDB Life Insurance is being put on the block again by Korea Development Bank, which jointly owns 92.73 percent of the not-so-profitable insurer along with a private equity investor.

According to Korea Development Bank Monday, due diligence is being conducted on JC Partners, a local private equity fund bidding for the asset. It is the first investor being reviewed as a possible acquirer, though the bank would not say whether any other parties are interested in purchasing the insurer.

“We are rolling out due diligence on the potential buyer, but details on who will be the preferred bidder and who will participate in the main bidding hasn’t been decided yet,” the company said in a statement.

JC Partners has reportedly proposed to buy 92.73 percent of the insurance company for 200 billion won ($164 million) with a plan to invest 300 billion won more in the company after the acquisition is completed. It will issue new shares to raise the additional funding.

Korea Development Bank has been seeking an exit ever since it purchased the beleaguered insurance company in 2010 for 650 billion won in a joint investment with Consus Asset Management during the restructuring of the Kumho Asiana Group. KDB Life was formerly known as Kumho Life.

The state-run bank invested additionl funds into the insurance company, only to fail three times in its attempt to sell it to potential buyers between 2014 and 2016. KDB Chairman Lee Dong-gull during the National Assembly audit last year said the bank is willing to sell KDB Life at between 200 billion won and 800 billion won.

In 2018, the insurer recorded a 1.1 billion won net loss, followed by 34.5 billion won in net profit last year.

BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]

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