Going After M&As

KDB Chairman Kang tells staff to seek out overseas banks as takeover targets


Chairman Kang Man-soo of the KDB Financial Group said the group will look for proper-scale foreign banks for M&As if they are in the market during his visit to KDB Hungary in Budapest on March 19.
Under the group¡¯s M&A strategy, he told officials of the group¡¯s Hungarian subsidiary that they should take a look at any proper-scale foreign banks that are on the market, saying that this is the right time since many foreign banks have been having tough times in their operation and may look for the chance to be taken over by a financially stronger institution.
Chairman Kang visited the Hungarian subsidiary for the first time since he became chairman and the Korea Development Bank took over the bank in Budapest in 2002 from the now-defunct Daewoo Group. KDB now operates six branches in Budapest engaged in such financial services as deposits, loans, credit cards, leasing, and housing loans, steadily expanding its profits every year since its launch about 10 years ago. He also made a brief visit to Dublin, Ireland, to check out the KDB subsidiary¡¯s operation there before flying to Budapest.
Kang said, ¡°Now is the right time to look for M&As overseas for Korea Development Bank as many banks overseas are faced with difficulties due to the European debt crisis,¡± adding, ¡°We should look for ways to expand our operations,¡± in a speech in front of some 200 officers and staff of the Hungarian subsidiary.
Kang also said the head of Citibank¡¯s Korean subsidiary is a Korean and the multinational bank has made a huge contribution to Korea¡¯s economic rebuilding from the ashes of the Korean War (1950-1953). He foresees a Hungarian taking over the helm of KDB Hungary in the near future. He also promised that the Hungarian subsidiary will not have to remit profits to its mother company in Seoul, Korea, so that the funds can be used to help the Hungarian economy and the local subsidiary¡¯s expansion in Hungary.
The chairman also toured KDB's overseas operations in Hong Kong, the United States, Japan, and Uzbekistan during the overseas trip, the first one he took since becoming the top executive of the KDB Financial Group last year.
Immediately after his trip to Hong Kong, he approved the Hong Kong KDB Daewoo Securities request to triple its capital. He also approved the request to dispatch a number of KDB staff to Turkey for the first time, and in April he will approve sending a number of staff to Ho Chi Minh City later in the month.
KDB officials said Turkey has great potential for growth with the majority of its population aged from 20 to 40 years. When the country becomes a member of the EU, he said, a KDB subsidiary will be set up in Ankara through KDB Hungary.
The chairman is said to have decided not increase the number of KDB branches in Korea as originally planned, which called for expanding the number to 200 by 2014. The number will be trimmed down to 135, as it costs 1.7 billion won to launch a branch and the direct banking operation managed without staff has been doing well to attract depositors, reducing the need to expand the number of branches.
KDBdirect, introduced in September last year, has attracted 732.4 billion won in deposits as of March 21, most likely because it pays 3.5 percent interest annually and money can be drawn from the account at any time.

A view of KDB building in Seoul.

Chairman Kang Man-soo of the KDB Financial Group.

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