SEOUL Dec 31 South Korea has picked local lenders BS Financial Group Inc and JB Financial Group Co as preferred bidders to buy regional bank units of Woori Finance Holdings Co, top regulator Financial Services Commission (FSC) said on Tuesday.
BS Financial offered more than 1.2 trillion won ($1.1 billion) for a 57 percent stake in Kyongnam Bank, while JB Financial submitted a bid of nearly 500 billion won for Kwangju Bank, wire service Yonhap reported on Tuesday.
The South Korean government and Woori Finance had selected six local financial firms as preferred bidders for the control of eight Woori units this month. The move is part of the government's attempt to offload its entire 57 percent stake in Woori to recoup more than $11 billion in bailouts since the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s. ($1 = 1055.3500 Korean won) (Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)