AIG eyes consumer finance, M&A in South Korea

SEOUL (Reuters) - American International Group AIG.N is interested in expanding into consumer finance in South Korea and may buy Korean companies to grow its businesses, the head of its Korean life insurance unit said on Thursday.

AIG, the world’s largest insurer by market capitalization, runs life and non-life insurance, investment and real estate operations in South Korea.

Now the U.S. insurer is eyeing other financial services businesses in the East Asian country and is studying launching a holding company, Sang Hui Lee, president and CEO of American International Assurance Korea told Reuters in an interview.

“The group is interested in other businesses here... it is definitely financial businesses,” said the 39-year-old CEO.

When asked about the segment the U.S. group is looking at, he added: “consumer finance.”

Consumer finance, including installment financing and leasing, is a relatively untapped market in South Korea as small-sized companies have followed it.

Reporting by Kim Yeon-hee; Editing by Keiron Henderson