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RETAIL BANKING | Tony Chua, Korea
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KB Financial targets buying a life insurance company

The company says it is keen on buying a life insurer to lessen reliance on banking revenue.

South Korea's KB Financial Group is interested in acquiring a life insurer, its chairman and chief executive, Euh Yoon-dae, said Tuesday, reiterating the group's strategy to reduce its reliance on banking revenue.

"We're interested in buying a life insurance company and something else to beef up the non-banking business," Euh told a media conference for local media to mark his first year anniversary in the company's top job. His comment was later confirmed by a spokesman.

Euh also said KB will not bid for Woori Finance Holdings Co. (053000.SE), although the group plans to buy a savings bank. He did not identify which savings banks could be takeover targets for KB.

Most of the company's profits come from its flagship banking unit Kookmin Bank, and KB, the nation's second-largest financial holding company by assets, has said it plans to boost bottom-line contributions from non-banking operations to about 30% by 2013 from less than 5% currently through mergers or acquisitions in one to two years' time.

View the full story in The Wall Street Journal.

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