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August 4, 2007

SMFG buys stake in VN's Eximbank for $225 mln
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc, Japan's third-largest bank, is buying a 15% stake in Vietnam Export Import Commercial Bank (Eximbank) for $225 million, Reuters quoted the official Vietnam News Agency as saying on August 4.

Sumitomo Mitsui, which joins seven other foreign banks who have invested in Vietnam's booming economy, will provide risk management and technical help to Eximbank following the deal, the report quoted Eximbank's Chief Executive Pham Van Thiet as saying.

Ho Chi Minh City-based Eximbank, Vietnam's eighth-largest by assets, approved the sale on August 3. The deal will raise the unlisted bank's registered capital to 3.73 trillion dong ($231 million) from 2.8 trillion dong, the report said.

Eximbank will also sell another 10% stake to undisclosed foreign investment funds under the capital raising plan, it added. Sumitomo joins seven foreign banks, including ANZ, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered Plc and HSBC Holdings Plc, which have bought shares in Vietnamese banks, seeking to benefit from economic growth targeted at 8.5% this year.

HSBC holds the single biggest stake, with 15% in Hanoi-based unlisted Techcombank. Vietnam caps foreign ownership in a domestic bank at 30%, with a 15-percent limit for a strategic investor. In exceptional cases, subject to government approval, a strategic foreign investor may take up to 20%. Reuters


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