S.Korea KDB Financial Group plans IPO by end-2012 -chairman

SEOUL Thu Jan 5, 2012 1:00am EST

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SEOUL Jan 5 (Reuters) - South Korea's state-run KDB Financial Group aims to float its shares in the domestic market by the end of this year as part of the government's privatisation plans, its chairman said on Thursday, without giving further details.

"We will prepare for the IPO to be completed within this year," Kang Man-soo told a news conference.

Privatising the holding company and parent of policy bank Korea Development Bank (KDB) is a major initiative of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who took office in 2008.

But the plan has made little progress after KDB's attempt to acquire rival Woori Finance Holdings Co Ltd prior to a privatisation was rejected by politicians and regulators earlier this year.

Kang, an ex-finance minister and presidential ally, said the government could adjust the number of shares to be listed depending on the market situation.

He also said talks to buy HSBC Holdings Plc's retail banking operations in South Korea were "progressing well" and expected to "reach a conclusion soon."

Local media have reported that HSBC plans to sell 11 retail branches across South Korea as it shifts focus to corporate and investment banking.

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