Holding company to boost risk management amid slowdown
By Park Hyong-ki
|Woori Financial Group Chairman Sohn Tae-seung|
They are pursuing acquisitions, attracting long-term foreign institutional investors, and increasing risk management amid a weak economic outlook, according to the group
Sohn already unveiled his interest in seeking targets that would help enlarge the group's size to that of other financial groups at a Dec. 28 shareholder meeting.
Although he did not identify targets of the group's interest, the company reiterated it would most likely go after securities companies.
It is not yet interested in acquiring insurance companies because of the risk stemming from the planned introduction of a stronger accounting standard.
"Obviously, M&A are done in secrecy. The chairman may talk a bit more about it on Feb. 14 when he plans to hold a press conference," said a company spokesman.
It is most likely Woori Financial will unveil the specifics of its deals when the company is ready to sign acquisition documents, as Shinhan Financial Group did for its purchase of Orange Life, he added.
Another task on the chairman's priority list is seeking foreign investors in an effort to increase their share ownership in the group to around 30 percent from 20 percent.
A higher foreign equity ownership will help stabilize its stocks, and shield them from market volatility and disruptions.
To this end, the chairman is expected to travel overseas soon for meetings with potential foreign investors as he did in 2018, the spokesman noted.
His investor relations team is currently preparing for his roadshows.
Last but not least, boosting risk management is pivotal to sustaining its business amid the slowdown, the company said.
Sohn will head both the financial group and Woori Bank until March 2020.