The government decided to sell its 29.7% stake in Woori Bank to seven investors on its fifth attempt to privatize Woori Bank. The government has tried to return the bank the public since 2010. Woori Bank was turned into the hands of the government in the aftermath of the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.
Since then on, the government has proposed many different ways to sell Woori Bank shares it owned. However, due to unfavorable market conditions and other internal and external factors, the pase four privatization efforts were doomed.
After Mr. Yim Jong-yong took office as chaiaman of the FSC, the government set a whole new approach to sell Woori Bank. In August, the Public Fund Oversight Committee (PFOC), a deliberative body in charge of Woori Bank privatization, decided to sell the government’s 30% stake in Woori Bank to multiple buyers in order to encourage more participation.
Total eighteen investors submitted letters of intent (LOI) to buy the minority shares in a preliminary bidding, and eight bidders applied for the bidding took place on November 11. Among the eight investors, the PFOC announced seven final winning bidders on November 13. Total amount of the shares to be sold this time is 29.7% (KRW 2.4 trillion) of the 30% owned by the government.
The sale will be closed in mid-December this year. The MOU signed by the Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation and Woori will terminate once the sales procedure is completed. The government will keep on trying to sell the remaining 21.4% in Woori Bank for a full recovery of the taxpayers’s money.