RETAIL BANKING | Tony Chua, Korea

Korea’s NPS mulls buying stake in Woori Finance

$258bln pension fund may join Hana Financial to make a bid or venture its own investment.

National Pension Service (NPS), Korea’s biggest investor, said it would consider teaming with Hana Financial Group or join others to buy a stake in Woori Finance Holdings.

The state-run fund, with $258 billion in assets, hasn’t received any formal requests to invest in Woori, the country’s third-largest financial company by market value, Chairman Jun Kwang-woo said in an interview.

“We’ll be open to consider investing in the privatization of Woori,” said Jun. “We’ll have to look at investment merits, which proposal makes more sense from a long-term investor’s perspective.”

J.P. Morgan Chase, Samsung Securities and Daewoo Securities were chosen this week to advise Korea Deposit Insurance Corp. on selling its 57 percent stake in Woori. Jun is a former vice chairman of Woori and led Korea’s Financial Services Commission before joining NPS in December last year.

NPS will take a “very neutral” view on any proposals it receives for investing in Woori, Jun said.

View the full story in JoongAng Daily.

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