The Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank of Industry and Trade (Vietinbank) will sell a 20 percent stake to its Japanese strategic investor, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU), following an agreement signed in Hanoi on December 27.

The 15.5 trillion VND (743 million USD) purchase made it the largest acquisition in the banking sector to date, said Vietinbank Chairman Pham Huy Hung.

The Vietnamese lender said it had gained permission to issue new shares, to increase its charter capital to 32.661 trillion VND (1.55 billion USD) and equity to 45 trillion VND (2.1 billion USD).

The acquisition will make Vietinbank the largest Vietnamese commercial bank in terms of capital and shareholder structure.

Meanwhile, BTMU Chairman Nobuyuki Hirano said the move will help his bank expand operations throughout Asia .

Last year, Vietinbank sold 10 percent to the International Finance Corporation for 182 million USD in cash and 125 million USD in loans over a 10-year period. In the current shareholder structure of the bank, the State holds 80.3 percent.

Before the agreement, Vietinbank had negotiated with Canada’s Bank of Nova Scotia as a potential strategic partner but had failed to settle on terms.-VNA