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South Korea's KT seeks to become largest shareholder in digital-only bank

South Korean telecommunications carrier KT Corp. recently filed an application seeking regulatory approval for its plan to increase its stake in K-Bank, one of two Internet-only banks in South Korea, The Chosun Ilbo reported.

If approved, KT will be able to raise its stake to 34% from 10%, the allowed limit for non-financial shareholders under South Korea's Internet bank law that took effect in January. Currently, Woori Financial Group Inc. is K-Bank's largest shareholder with a 13.79% stake.

K-Bank in January announced a plan to increase its capital by 592 billion won, paving the way for KT to increase its stake.

The payment date for K Bank's new shares is April 25, though regulatory approval may or may not come before April 25, as the Financial Services Commission's top shareholder eligibility test can take up to 60 days.

Meanwhile, social media company Kakao Corp., which holds a 10% stake in KakaoBank of Korea Corp., is also expected to file an application in March to own 34% of KakaoBank.

As of March 13, US$1 was equivalent to 1,130.75 South Korean won.