UPDATE 3-S.Korea’s Woori to buy Hanmi Financial for $240 mln

* To buy minimum of $210 mln shrs at $1.20/shr

* Price at 41 pct discount to Tuesday close

* Hanmi also plans $120 mln rights offering * Hanmi shares
jump over 30 pct (Adds analyst comment, details, share

By Brenton Cordeiro

BANGALORE, May 26 (BestGrowthStock) – Woori Finance Holdings
(053000.KS: ) (WF.N: ) has agreed to buy a controlling stake in
troubled U.S. lender Hanmi Financial Corp (HAFC.O: ) for up to
$240 million, as South Korea’s No. 3 banking group by market
value moves to expand its operations in the United States.

Hanmi Financial, under regulatory orders to raise capital,
had been required to increase its capital by $100 million and
maintain a ratio of tangible shareholders’ equity-to-total
tangible assets of not less than 9 percent by July 31.

The Woori investment is subject to approval of the Federal
Reserve Board, the California Department of Financial
Institutions and the Korean Financial Services Commission.

Woori’s investment appears “well positioned” as far as a
foreign investment, analyst Julianna Balicka of Keefe, Bruyette
& Woods said.

“However, Woori is majority owned by the Korean government,
so that could be perceived as a potential regulatory hurdle,”
she added.

Earlier this year, Hanmi said its chairman had spoken to
Woori, but had declined to comment on rumors that it was a
potential takeout target. [ID:nN2276797]

Hanmi had previously received an investment from Korean
firm Leading Investment & Securities Co Ltd.

The deal is expected to give Woori the opportunity to tap
into the Korean-American community on the U.S. west coast,
where Hanmi’s bank unit operates, in addition to Woori’s
existing U.S. arm on the east coast.

Hanmi did not return calls seeking comment.


Woori will purchase Hanmi common stock worth at least $210
million at $1.20 per share, a 41 percent discount to Hanmi’s
closing price on Tuesday.

The South Korean group has the option to buy an additional
$30 million worth of common stock, Hanmi said in a statement.

Hanmi will commence a $120 million rights offering and
Woori is expected to own at least a majority of Hanmi when the
deal closes.

Hanmi Financial’s shares jumped over 30 percent in morning
trade on Nasdaq to $2.65, before paring some gains to trade up
23 percent at $2.49.

Hanmi Financial intends to contribute a “substantial”
amount of the net proceeds from the investment as new capital
into its unit Hanmi Bank.

The transaction is expected to close by July or August,
pending approval from the authorities, a source close to the
matter said.

For a related dealtalk, double click [ID:nBNG459023]

Stock Market Today

(Reporting by Rhee So-eui in Seoul and Brenton Cordeiro in
Bangalore; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Aradhana Aravindan,
Unnikrishnan Nair)

UPDATE 3-S.Korea’s Woori to buy Hanmi Financial for $240 mln