22 January 2014 Hong Kong – SC Lowy, a Hong Kong-based independent global investing and trading firm, announces that it has completed the acquisition of Shinmin Savings Bank (“Shinmin”), a South Korea-based mutual savings bank. SC Lowy acquired Shinmin with Korean co-investor and partner, Yuil PE, a Korean private equity fund. SC Lowy and Yuil PE will be changing the name of Shinmin to Choeun (照恩) Mutual Savings Bank.
“The acquisition of Shinmin is a natural extension of SC Lowy’s business,” explains Mr. Soocheon Lee, the Chief Investment Officer and co-founder of SC Lowy. “After building out a dominant secondary loan and fixed income trading platform across the Asia Pacific region, with distribution networks in Europe and the US, we are now looking to enter into local financing markets. We intend to capitalize on the significant opportunities that will result from an onshore presence. And this move in Korea follows on our successful, award-winning, debtor-in-possession financing to Korea Line Corporation last year.”
Upon regulatory approval, granted on October 10, 2013, SC Lowy and Yuil PE acquired 86.9% of Shinmin (with each of SC Lowy and Yuil PE holding 43.45%) from Samhwan Corporation, a listed Korean construction company. Shinmin has since completed a KRW 16.5 billion rights issue on January 10, 2014, which increased the total value of its equity capital to KRW 18.9 billion and took its Tier 1 capital ratio to 20%.
On December 13, 2013, Shinmin appointed Mr. Ho-Jun Lee as CEO and Mr. Soocheon Lee as a managing director. Mr. Ho-Jun Lee, formerly CEO of Yuil PE, worked in the investment banking division of KDB Capital before he became CEO of S&T Mutual Savings Bank. Prior to SC Lowy, Mr. Soocheon Lee was a managing director and head of research and trading in Deutsche Bank’s Strategic Investments Group.
The key focus for the new management team at Shinmin will be to implement stronger risk management processes and global governance standards. This will include reducing the size of its mortgage project financing business and increasing loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with a particular emphasis on tightening management controls and developing global best practices.