S. Korea's KDB group in talks to buy HSBC unit

10th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

South Korea's state-funded KDB Financial Group is interested in buying the local unit of global giant HSBC in a bid to expand its retail business before privatisation, a bank official said Monday.

Yonhap news agency reported Sunday that the group has been in talks to buy HSBC's South Korea unit, which has 11 branches.

HSBC plans to continue its corporate financing and investment banking businesses in South Korea but hopes to end retail financing and sell local branches, Yonhap said.

A KDB spokesman declined comment. But a bank official told AFP on condition of anonymity that it was interested in buying HSBC's local unit and branches.

"KDB is interested in HSBC but nothing has been decided," he said.

HSBC in May launched plans to save up to $3.5 billion by 2013 and to axe 30,000 jobs globally over the next two years to streamline operations.

KDB Financial was created in 2009 as a holding company comprising state-run Korea Development Bank and other affiliates, as part of a government plan to make it a publicly listed company.

The financial group has a strong presence in corporate and investment banking but has sought a takeover to expand its deposit base before privatisation.

© 2011 AFP

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