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Taiwan’s Fubon Financial becomes third-largest shareholder in Hyundai Card

Hyundai Card’s IPO plans on hold indefinitely with Affinity Equity’s official exit

May 20, 2022 - 15:07 By Jung Min-kyung
Hyundai Card headquarters in Seoul (Hyundai Card)
Taiwanese banking giant Fubon Financial on Friday raised its stake in South Korea’s Hyundai Card to nearly 20 percent, expanding its clout over management of the card issuer.

Fubon Financial is now the card issuer’s third-largest shareholder with 19.98 percent after Hyundai Motor with 36.96 percent and Hyundai Commercial with 28.56 percent. Kia Corp. is the fourth-largest stakeholder with 11.48 percent.

The latest announcement puts a final stamp on the exit of a consortium led by Hong Kong-based private equity firm Affinity Equity Partners from the card issuer, which previously owned a 24 percent threshold. Since last year, Affinity had sold its some 20 percent stake to Fubon Financial’s commercial banking unit Fubon Bank and life insurer Fubon Life Insurance for roughly 520 billion won ($409 million). The remaining 4 percent stake was sold to Hyundai Commercial.

The move comes four years after the consortium bought the same number of shares for 380 billion won. It also effectively nullifies the Affinity’s initial request made in 2017 for Hyundai Card to complete its initial public offering within four years of the stake purchase, indefinitely delaying the possible listing.

“There are no immediate plans for an IPO,” Hyundai Card said in a statement in the day.

Early this year, Hyundai Card’s two outside directors from Affinity left their posts to be replaced by Douglas Tsai, management associate at Fubon Financial Holding. The company is expected to fill the vacant post with another Fubon official.

“Fubon Financial has highly regarded Hyundai Card’s potential to further grow as a private label credit card issuer alongside our data science and branding skills as our strategic investor,” the card issuer said in a statement.

A private label credit card is a credit card that offers more benefits for use at a specific brand‘s stores.

Fubon Financial was founded in 1961 with multiple subsidiaries including Fubon Life, Taipei Fubon Bank, Fubon Securities, Fubon Asset Management and more. As of the end of 2021, Fubon Financial Holdings had unaudited net assets of $10.51 trillion. At the end of 2015, Fubon Life purchased a 48 percent stake in Hyundai Life Insurance, to rebrand it as Fubon Hyundai Life.

Hyundai Card’s net profit in the first three months of this year declined 4 percent on-year to 76.9 billion won, according to regulatory filing.