Woori Financial privatized, FSC says, with 9.3% stake sale

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Woori Financial privatized, FSC says, with 9.3% stake sale

Woori Financial Group's headquarters in Jung District, central Seoul. [WOORI FINANCIAL GROUP]

Woori Financial Group's headquarters in Jung District, central Seoul. [WOORI FINANCIAL GROUP]

 
Eugene Private Equity and four other investors are acquiring 9.3 percent of Woori Financial Group.
 
The Public Fund Oversight Committee under the Financial Services Commission (FSC) announced Monday that it has chosen five investors for the purchase of the stock.
 
The 9.3 stake put up for sale is from the 15.13 percent held by state-run Korea Deposit Insurance, the largest shareholder of Woori Financial. After the sale is complete on Dec. 9, the deposit insurer will no longer be the largest shareholder of the group.
 
As Korea Deposit Insurance becomes the third largest shareholder after the sale, this "technically means a full privatization of Woori Financial Group in 23 years" the FSC said in a statement.
 
Eugene Private Equity, a private equity fund under the Eugene Group, is acquiring 4 percent of Woori Financial and the right to recommend an outside director. KTB Asset Management is buying 2.3 percent. Three other investors will acquire 1 percent of Woori Financial each. They include Dunamu, operator of the Upbit cryptocurrency exchange, Woori Financial's employee stock ownership association and Align Partners consortium.
 
The shares were sold at around 13,000 won ($11) each, the FSC said. The regulator projected 897.7 billion won of taxpayer money that was poured into saving Woori Financial during the Asian financial crisis to be recouped from the latest deal.
 
Woori Financial Group traded at 13,350 won at the end of the day Monday.
 
The government spent 12.8 trillion won on the bailout of Woori Financial, previously Hanvit Bank, in 1998. After the sale, the government will have recouped 96.6 percent of the funds.
 
The state-run deposit insurer sold 29.7 percent of Woori Financial to institutional investors in 2016 and another 2 percent in April.
 
Eugene Private Equity will become the fifth largest shareholder after the deal is complete. Woori Financial's employee stock ownership association will be the largest shareholder, with 9.8 percent, followed by National Pension Service with 9.42 percent stake. Korea Deposit Insurance will be the third largest, at 5.8 percent.
 
The FSC committee said that it plans to sell the remaining 5.8 percent held by Korea Deposit Insurance in the near future depending on the share price and market conditions.
 

BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]
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