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Japan bank giant buys $903m stake in Vietnam lender

Published on Dec 27, 2012 2:25 PM
A woman walks past a branch of Vietinbank in Hanoi. Japan's Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ plans to buy 20 per cent of VietinBank from the Vietnamese government for about 60 billion yen (US$720 million), a source close to the deal said, as Japan's cash-rich big banks expand into fast-growing South-east Asian markets. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

HANOI (AFP) - Japan's biggest bank Mitsubishi UFJ has bought a 20-per-cent stake worth US$743 million (S$903 million) in state-owned VietinBank, the largest ever foreign investment in Vietnam's banking sector.

The deal aims to boost "support for Japanese companies operating in Vietnam", Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ president Nobuyuki Hirano said on Thursday. It also aims to tap South-east Asian markets after seeing its profits tumble this year.

The Japanese bank last month reported that profit in the six months to September dived 58 per cent year-on-year to US$3.6 billion, due partly to declines in stock holdings.

VietinBank, or Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade, said the majority of its shares will still be owned by the State Bank of Vietnam but it described the deal as "the largest ever M&A (mergers and acquisitions) transaction" in Vietnam's banking sector.

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