South KoreaÆs W160 trillion ($171 billion) National Pension Corporation is at the final stages of picking a third tranche of international fund managers, according to sources familiar with the organisation.

The NPC intends to award seven new mandates in mid-May. Five of these are in equities, including core active and satellite strategies, and will average $100 million each. The two global fixed-income mandates are said to be larger.

Both Mercer Investment Consulting and Watson Wyatt have assisted the NPC draw up a short list of fund management companies for each investment style, but the NPC will make the final selection.

This third batch of international mandates follows a recent widening of the NPCÆs exposure to global alternative investments. At the close of 2005, it made a pair of $50 million allocations to two new private-equity funds: a global portfolio managed by Blackstone, and a European one managed by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.

Now it has subscribed to another pair of new PE funds, including one by Bain that focuses on North America and a global opportunity marketed by TPG. The NPC has allocated a total of around $300 million to the two funds, continuing its preference for large buyout players.

The NPC has also recently placed money into a property fund aimed at the European market managed by JPMorgan Asset Management, and is looking for similar opportunities for the American and Asian markets.

The first tranche of international investments was made in 2003, when the NPC mandated Capital International, Fidelity Investments, State Street Global Advisors and Wellington Capital Management for equities and balanced portfolios.

In 2004 it followed up with six more mandates, including three in global equities to ING Investment Management, Morgan Stanley Investment Management and UBS Global Asset Management; and three in global fixed income to Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Pimco and Western Asset Management.