| SEOUL, June 23
SEOUL, June 23 South Korea will split the sale
of its 57 percent stake in Woori Bank, country's
second-largest bank, into two tranches, with the largest portion
- an offering of 30 percent - seen worth roughly $3 billion.
Woori Bank is the crown jewel in Woori Finance Holdings
, accounting for 70 percent of its assets. Its sale
is the last and most important leg of the government's attempt
to privatise the financial group as it tries to recoup as much
as possible of more than $12 billion in bailout money.
The government has so far recouped 5.8 trillion won ($5.7
billion) as of May though that figure does not include gains
from two units that have been sold.
But selling off the assets has been a complicated and drawn
out affair as South Korea requires at least two bidders for a
government sale by law and as foreign investors are reluctant to
enter a market seen as having weak returns and difficult to
Woori Finance Holdings will first be merged with Woori Bank
so the bank's value is roughly equivalent to the 8.2 trillion
won ($8.06 billion) market cap of Woori Finance, a government
official said, declining to be identified as he was not
authorised to talk to the media.
The government will then sell a 30 percent stake, a holding
which will give the owner or owners management control, the
government's top financial regulator said.
A 30 percent stake would be worth some $2.4 billion but a
winning bid is also expected to include a premium, taking the
potential sale amount to around $3 billion, analysts have said.
So far, only Kyobo Life Insurance, the country's
third biggest life insurer, has publicly flagged interest for a
controlling stake. Kyobo's investors include the Ontario
Teachers' Pension Plan, Singapore sovereign fund GIC and private
equity firm Affinity Equity Partners.
The remaining 27 percent will be sold off in a dutch auction
where bidders will bid for preferred stake sizes of between 0.5
percent and 10 percent.
($1 = 1017.8000 South Korean Won)
(Editing by Edwina Gibbs)