KB Financial head says to beef up non-banking biz

SEOUL, July 12 (Yonhap) -- KB Financial Group Inc., South Korea's No. 2 banking group, plans to strengthen the group's non-banking business in a bid to diversify the portfolio from the banking-focused business, its new head said Friday.

Group Chairman Lim Young-rok told reporters that the group has heavily depended on its banking unit Kookmin Bank in generating profits, raising the need to beef up the group's non-banking business.

Lim became the group chief earlier in the day, replacing his predecessor Euh Yoon-dae by receiving approvals from shareholders.

Net profit from Koomin Bank accounted for about 80 percent of the group's total earnings of 1.77 trillion won (US$1.57 billion) last year.

He declined to elaborate on the group's possible bidding for buying affiliates of Woori Finance Holdings Co. including the brokerage unit, saying that he plans to study the possible takeover.

In late June, the government unveiled the plan to sell the state-invested Woori Finance in three different batches, a move aimed at retrieving public funds.

The government is seeking to sell Korea's top banking group -- regional banks, banking and brokerage units -- by the end of 2014.

NongHyup Financial Group Inc. said it is mulling buying Woori Investment