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Banking

Fullerton deal would be a landmark for SMBC – and Japan

No Japanese bank has had a shot at Indian retail before now. Could this be the first of several attempts?

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Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group is to buy a 74.9% stake in the Indian credit firm Fullerton India Credit, a holding of the Temasek sovereign wealth vehicle in Singapore, for about ¥220 billion ($2 billion) in a deal that is not only a first for the Japanese group but all of Japan.

The bank, which at a group level is usually known as SMBC (for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, a subsidiary of SMFG), has been in an acquisitive frame of mind all year.

In April, it said it would buy a 49% stake in FE Credit, a consumer lender in Vietnam; then on June 28 confirmed the acquisition of a 4.99% stake in Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) in the Philippines.

The key for growth for us is outside of Japan
Jun Ohta, SMBC
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Between those two it also made strategic investments in the Swiss and Singaporean trade finance fintech KomGo and in the blockchain trade platform developer Contour.

It had previously taken control of Indonesia’s PT Bank Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional in 2019.

But the India deal is something different. No Japanese lender has ever taken on Indian retail before.

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