CARDS & PAYMENTS | Tony Chua, Korea

Woori Bank set to spin off card business

The creation of Woori Card follows similar moves by the lender’s rivals.

South Korea's Woori Bank, a unit of Woori Finance Holdings, will spin off its card business at the end of this year in a bid to diversify the financial group's portfolio by creating a more profitable structure for the card issuer.

Woori Finance Holdings, the nation's largest financial holding firm by assets, said Monday that its card issuer, currently in the hands of Woori Bank, will stand alone from Dec. 31 as a new affiliate with capital of KRW846.3 billion ($760 million)--or 169,266,200 shares.

The decision is subject to approval from a shareholders' meeting on Nov. 24, the holding firm said in a regulatory filing.

The card unit--tentatively called Woori Card--will remain unlisted.

The move comes as the holding company aims to diversify its business.

It relies heavily on Woori Bank for revenue. The diversification follows similar moves by competitors. Woori Bank accounted for 77.1% of the holding firm's revenue as of the end of 2010.

View the full story in The Wall Street Journal.

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