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KB Financial Group eyes M&A in Vietnam, Indonesia

South Korea's KB Financial Group Inc. is eyeing aggressive M&A with companies in Vietnam and Indonesia as it looks to make the two Southeast Asian countries its next financial hubs, The Korea Times reported Jan. 5, citing the group's chairman, Yoon Jong-kyoo.

As part of the financial group's strategy in 2020, it aims to make Vietnam and Indonesia its de facto secondary domestic markets via M&A deals, Yoon said in an interview with the publication. The move is part of the company's efforts to focus its expansion on a few major countries with huge growth potential and reduce reliance on the local South Korean financial market.

The chairman added that the group is looking to bring its digital banking and corporate finance know-how to overseas markets, while also introducing more consumer finance and microfinance businesses there.

Among the ASEAN countries, KB Financial has a presence in Myanmar, with 17 branches. Meanwhile, the group's unit, KB Kookmin Bank, agreed in December 2019 to acquire to acquire a 70% stake in Cambodia's PRASAC Microfinance Institution Ltd., while another subsidiary, KB Asset Management Co. Ltd., in September 2019 opened a representative office in Ho Chi Minh City.

The group's two-track overseas strategy will not only focus on the Southeast Asian market, but also developed countries where the investment return is stable, such as the U.S., Yoon said, citing the group's partnership with U.S.-based Stifel Financial Corp., which was agreed upon in October 2019.