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Japan's SBI Group seeks nod to buy Korean savings bank
SEOUL, Feb. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's financial regulator said Thursday it has received an application from a Japanese financial firm to acquire a troubled local savings bank amid the ongoing industry overhaul after a bunch of players went bankrupt two years ago.

   The Financial Services Commission (FSC) said SBI Holdings Inc., the holding company of Japanese financial investment firm SBI Group, submitted a request to the FSC seeking approval for the acquisition of Hyundai Swiss Savings Bank and Hyundai Swiss 2 Savings Bank.

   The two affiliated savings banks were among some 24 players whose operations were shut down by the regulator here between 2011-2012 due to imprudent lending practices.

   Upon the FSC's approval, SBI Group will secure an 89.4 percent stake in Hyundai Swiss and a 93.9 percent stake in Hyundai Swiss 2, the watchdog said, taking full control of four affiliates of the savings bank.

   The FSC said it will likely make a decision on the takeover by late March.

   Earlier this month, the boards of both Hyundai Swiss Savings Bank and SBI Holdings agreed on an acquisition deal through a rights offering worth 237.5 billion won (US$218.5 million).

   Hyundai Swiss Savings Bank said it expects the rights offering to improve its finances, raising its capital ratio to 7 percent. As of the end of September last year, the savings bank's capital ratio stood at 1.81 percent.