SEOUL, June 22 (Yonhap) — The South Korean government said Tuesday it will seek to sell its 17.25-percent stake in Woori Financial Holdings Co. in the second half of this year, depending on financial market conditions.

Last year, the government set up a blueprint for completing the privatization of Woori Financial by 2022 in a bid to recoup public funds that were used to bail out the financial holding group in the wake of the 1997-98 Asian financial Crisis.

The public funds oversight committee, which handles state asset sales, said it will closely monitor market situations to kick off the sales process in the second half, when market conditions are favorable, according to the Financial Services Commission (FSC).

The government was to begin the sale process in the first half but the plan did not proceed as financial markets were affected by the new coronavirus outbreak.

Shares of Woori Financial fell 1.29 percent to end at 9,190 won (US$7.57) on Monday. To recoup the public funds, the stake should be sold at some 12,300 won per share, according to market watchers.

The government poured a total of 12.8 trillion won into Woori Bank, which was turned into Woori Financial early last year, to keep it afloat in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

The government sold a 28-percent stake to institutional investors in 2016, but the state-run Korea Deposit Insurance Corp. is still the largest shareholder of Woori Financial.

As of end-February, the government had recouped 11.1 trillion won in public funds.