SEOUL, Jan. 7 (Korea Bizwire) — K-Bank, a South Korean internet-only bank, said Friday it has begun the process of an initial public offering (IPO) as part of efforts to raise funds to strengthen its foothold as a major digital financial platform.
K-Bank sent a request for proposal to local and foreign securities firms earlier in the day, the first step of a company going public. It also plans to select a lead manager for an IPO by next month, according to company officials.
“Details on IPO timelines will be determined after signing a deal with a lead manager,” an official said. “Through a successful IPO, we will push to strengthen our foothold as a digital financial platform.”
The company aims to complete the IPO process by the end of this year.
Launched in 2017, K-Bank is controlled by a consortium of telecom giant KT Corp., Woori Bank and 19 other companies.
The company reported a net profit of 16.8 billion won (US$14 million) in the third quarter of last year, up from a net profit of 3.9 billion won tallied three months earlier.
As of end-2021, the number of its costumers had come to 7.17 million, up about 5 million from a year earlier.
Internet-only banks have basked in marked growth as customers tend to prefer banking through mobile phones rather than visiting offline branches, a trend more entrenched during the pandemic.
KakaoBank, K-Bank’s bigger rival, went public on the country’s main bourse last summer. KakaoBank posted 52 billion won in net profit during the third quarter of last year. As of end-September, it had around 17.4 million customers.