Sumitomo Mitsui 'to buy European bank assets'

30 December 2011

The second biggest bank by market value in Japan is preparing to buy several hundred billion yen worth of assets being offloaded by lenders in Europe.

Sumitomo Mitsui has received numerous offers from banks across the continent eager to sell in order to increase capital and guard against the region's escalating debt crisis, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

Koichi Miyata, president of the financial institution - which has roots going back to 1876 - claimed the group had been approached with seven trillion yen (£58 billion) in such deals, adding there are currently more sellers of European banking assets than there are buyers.

The industry figure stated: "We'll take time and go for it once we find what we want. Loans for projects in North America and Asia are the areas we are interested in."

Many banks across Europe, including Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Banco Santander, are looking to sell assets and improve liquidity as the risk of government and bank defaults looms.

By Gary Cooper

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