SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ Commerzbank AG of Germany is negotiating to invest at least $223 million in Korea Exchange Bank, the South Korean bank said Wednesday.
Korea Exchange Bank has been seeking foreign investment to help bolster its balance sheet. South Korea’s financial crisis has led to the collapse of thousands of companies, leaving banks heavily in debt.
The German bank recently expressed its willingness to invest in Korea Exchange Bank, said Hong Young-chul, the Korean bank’s spokesman. South Korean news media have reported that Commerzbank will eventually invest $334 million to obtain a 35.3 stake.
But Hong said that no firm agreement has been reached. ``Talks will go on because the German side says it needs more time to study the South Korean economy and its banking industry,″ he said.
The South Korean government is a controlling shareholder in Korea Exchange Bank with a 47.88 stake.