Nonghyup Financial eyeing brokerage unit of Woori: chief

SEOUL, July 2 (Yonhap) -- Nonghyup Financial Group Inc. is mulling buying the brokerage unit of Woori Finance Holdings Co. to diversify its business portfolio from a banking-oriented structure and generate more synergy for the group's future, its chief said Tuesday.

"Since the government released the sale plan (of Woori Finance), we'll look into it seriously," Yim Jong-yong, the chairman of the banking group, told Yonhap News Agency in an interview.

His remarks came after the Financial Services Commission (FSC), the top financial regulator, unveiled last week the plan to sell the country's No. 1 financial group created with taxpayers' money of nearly 13 trillion won (US$11.5 billion) in 2001 in the aftermath of the 1997-98 Asian financial turmoil.

The FSC wants to sell Woori Finance in three different batches -- regional banks, banking and brokerage units -- to the highest possible bidders by the end of 2014.

Of those, the brokerage unit, which includes Woori Investment