Oaktree Investing $3 Billion in South Korea

HONG KONG/SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s state-run pension agency said on Wednesday U.S. investment firm Oaktree Capital Management had agreed in principle to invest $3 billion in the country.

The National Pension Service, which manages about 230 trillion won ($173.1 billion), said in a statement Oaktree would put about $3 billion into one of its domestic investment projects.

The deal comes as South Korea grapples with the fallout from the U.S. financial crisis, with its won <KRW=> currency tumbling 14 percent this month alone to 10-year lows against the dollar on persisting dollar shortages.

“We expect the investment agreement will bring about a positive effect on the local foreign exchange and other financial markets,” the pension agency said in a statement.

Oaktree, which manages some $58 billion, said in a separate statement it had agreed to explore joint investment opportunities with the South Korean pension agency but did not disclose the value of its planned investment.

“We believe the effects of the global credit crisis are also being felt in Korea and Oaktree’s team in Korea is ready to provide tailored solutions across the capital spectrum,” Oaktree’s Steven Choi said in a statement.

The pension agency said a final contract on the deal had yet to be signed. (Reporting by Michael Flaherty in HONG KONG and Yoo Choonsik in SEOUL; Editing by Keiron Henderson)