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(LEAD) Kakao Bank becomes most-valued financial firm in S. Korea on stock market debut

Economy 10:20 August 06, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES stock data in paras 2-4)
By Chung Joo-won

SEOUL, Aug. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korean internet-only bank Kakao Bank Corp. made a strong start in its stock market debut Friday, emerging as the country's most-valued financial firm.

As of 10:01 a.m., shares of the online bank changed hands at 64,200 won (US$56.19), sharply higher than its initial public offering (IPO) price of 39,000 won, after opening at 53,700 won.

The price set Kakao Bank's market capitalization at some 30.6 trillion won, making it the No. 1 financial firm in terms of market capitalization.

Among other established lenders, the market capitalization of KB Financial Group, the former top financial cap, stood at 22 trillion won, followed by Shinhan Financial Group at 20.1 trillion won and Hana Financial Group at 13.2 trillion won.

In this file photo, a retail investor submits his subscription at Kakao Bank Corp.'s IPO event held at a local brokerage in central Seoul on July 27, 2021. (Yonhap)

In its subscription period on July 26-27, Kakao Bank drew a tepid response from its subscription for retail investors. Their deposits for the stock offering stood at a smaller-than-expected 58.3 trillion won, with average subscription rate of 182.7:1, according to its IPO managers.

The lower-than-estimated deposit came as subscriptions to multiple brokerage houses were banned, in contrast to the cases for SKIET and SK Bioscience.

Controversy over the overvaluation of the IPO price also made investors hesitant on the firm's first trading day on the bourse.

Last year, Kakao Bank registered 804.2 billion won in operating income and 113.6 billion won in net profit.

Launched in January 2016, Kakao Bank has gained popularity among mobile-savvy customers in recent years thanks to its around-the-clock service and convenience.

Kakao Corp., operator of the country's dominant messaging app KakaoTalk, holds 27.26 percent stake as the bank's largest shareholder.


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