Vietnam's VPBank completes US$1.5bil stake sale to Japan's Sumitomo Mitsui

HANOI: Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank said on Monday it has sold a 15% stake for $1.5 billion to Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc, expanding the Japanese bank's presence in one of Asia's fastest-growing economies.

Following the investment, VPBank, whose business ranges across retail, corporate, consumer finance and wealth management operations, will become Vietnam's second-largest private lender by charter capital, with $5.96 billion.

"The investment is a part of VPBank's plan to replenish capital since 2022 and helps the bank achieve growth target," VPBank said in the statement released after the signing ceremony.

The deal comes as Vietnam's central bank seeks to tighten limits on holding stakes in banks, a move that may make the banking sector less attractive to foreigners.

Sumitomo Mitsui, Japan's second-largest banking group is seeking to capture growth in Asian emerging markets through acquisitions, spurred by limited business opportunities at home with ultra-low interest rates and an ageing population.

In late 2021, it acquired a 49% stake in Vietnamese consumer lender FE Credit from VPBank.

Shares of Hanoi-based VPBank have risen 18.16% this year, valuing the lender at around $6.04 billion, while its net income jumped 55.6% to $774.30 million in 2022. - Reuters

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