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KB Financial seeks more M&As: chief

All News 10:52 January 02, 2020

By Kim Kwang-tae

SEOUL, Jan. 2 (Yonhap) -- KB Financial Group, a major banking group, will be on the lookout for more mergers and acquisitions this year to strengthen its business portfolio, its top executive said Thursday, just a week after its flagship KB Kookmin Bank decided to acquire Cambodia's largest microfinance company.

"We will pursue M&As in a bold and swift manner when the opportunity comes," Yoon Jong-kyoo, chairman and CEO of KB Financial Group Inc., said in a new year message.

He did not give any further details on potential targets.

This photo, provided by KB Financial Group, shows CEO and Chairman Yoon Jong-kyoo. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The South Korean banking giant has been racing to expand its business portfolio and secure a new growth momentum amid declining margins due to record low interest rates and tough competition in the nearly saturated domestic market.

Last Thursday, KB Kookmin Bank, the group's flagship unit, decided to take over a 70 percent stake in Prasac Microfinance Institution Ltd. in Cambodia for $603 million. KB plans to acquire the remaining 30 percent stake in Prasac within the next two years.

In 2018, KB invested 114 billion won to gain a 22 percent stake in Indonesia's Bank Bukopin in a move to enter the Southeast Asian microfinance markets.

KB Financial Group saw its net profit fall 1.4 percent on-year to 940.3 billion won (US$813.5 million) in the third quarter.

KB Financial's net interest margin -- a key barometer of profitability -- decreased 0.02 percentage point from three months earlier to 1.94 percent at the end of September.

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