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Jan 10, 2020 / 18:44

Japan’s Aozora bank seeks to acquire 15% stake in Vietnam lender

Once completed, Aozora would become OCB Bank’s largest shareholder.

Japan’s Aozora Bank has decided to acquire a 15% stake in Orient Commercial Bank (OCB), a mid-sized commercial bank in Vietnam, in a deal worth US$139 million, said the former in a statement.

 Illustrative photo.

The deal, set to be complete in April, will be the first M&A deal of Aozora in a foreign market since 2001, Nikkei reported. Once completed, Aozora would become OCB’s largest shareholder.

Aozora is among a number of Japanese banks turning to Southeast Asia in search of growth amid a shrinking population and ultra-low interest rates at home.

According to Aozora, OCB, a Vietnamese private commercial bank with a high profitability and growth rate, will become its long-term strategic partner. “By sharing its financial experience and knowledge with OCB Bank, Aozora will make ongoing efforts to provide its specialized and differentiated services to customers in Japan and Vietnam while promoting new investment banking and online banking operations in Vietnam,” stated the Japan-based lender.

Under the partnership, Aozora will also appoint some of its directors to the Board of Directors of OCB, while turning the latter into an equity-method affiliate.

Privatized in 2010, OCB has achieved a return on equity of 23% during the fiscal year ending in December 2018. The Vietnamese bank was the first bank in Vietnam to achieve Basel II capital standards and was assigned a B1 long-term credit rating by Moody’s.

In 2018, OCB’s after-tax profit more than doubled in 2018 to VND1.76 trillion (US$76 million).