Logos of KB Kookmin Card (from top) and J Fintech's flagship mobile app "J Money."
Seoul-based consumer loan provider KB Kookmin Card said Monday that it had signed a deal to buy a controlling 50.99 percent stake in J Fintech, a Thailand-based personal loan provider, for 650 million baht ($20 million).
This marks the first acquisition deal that allows a South Korean credit card company to enter the Thai financial market since the Asian financial crisis in 1997.
The deal is awaiting approval from the financial authorities in Korea and Thailand. The credit card company expects it to be closed by the end of 2020.
J Fintech is a financial subsidiary of mobile phone distributor Jay Mart. Engaging in the business of lending money under the brand “J Money,” collecting bad debt and writing off nonperforming loans, J Fintech recorded a 67 million baht net profit in 2019.
Jay Mart currently holds 95.65 percent of shares in J Fintech. KB Kookmin Card will buy J Fintech’s newly issued shares.
As Korea’s third-largest credit card company, KB Kookmin Card has made inroads into the consumer loan service market in Southeast Asia since Lee Dong-chul took the top post in 2018. KB Kookmin Card took over a Tomato Specialized Bank deal in Cambodia in 2018 and signed a deal to acquire Indonesian lender Finansia Multi Finance in 2019.
“The deal will serve as a cornerstone for financial units under the umbrella of KB Financial Group, including KB Kookmin Bank, to enter into Thai market” the consumer lender said in a statement.
KB Kookmin Card is a wholly owned arm of KB Financial Group, Korea’s largest banking group by total assets. The net profit of KB Kookmin Card in 2019 rose 10.5 percent on-year to 316.55 billion won ($257.1 million).
By Son Ji-hyoung (email@example.com