TOKYO : Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc, Japan’s biggest banking group, is keen to expand in Asia and is ready to embark on more acquisitions if need be, its chief executive told Reuters.
“The first phase of our investment strategy was building footholds for commercial banking in Asia, and we are now moving into the second stage,” Chief Executive Hironori Kamezawa said in an interview.
The second phase will focus on leveraging the group’s commercial bank units in the region for broader services including consumer finance, he said.
“If we still have gaps (in our portfolio of businesses) to fill, we will do so through acquisitions.”
This year the group announced a $620 million deal to buy the Philippine and Indonesian units of Dutch consumer finance company Home Credit Group (HC). Its Thai unit Bank of Ayudhya will own 75 per cent each of HC Philippines and HC Indonesia when the deal is completed next year.
The Japanese lender has also said it plans to buy SHB Finance Co Ltd, a major non-bank firm in Vietnam, as well as Nomura Holdings’ securities unit in Thailand, both through Bank of Ayudhya.
India is another country of focus, Kamezawa said. Mitsubishi UFJ this year launched a $300 million fund to invest in mid- to late-stage startups in the country.
“We will consider large-scale acquisitions when there are good opportunities,” he said, but noted that the regulatory environment in India made such deals difficult.
Like other Japanese lenders, Mitsubishi UFJ, which owns about 22 per cent of Morgan Stanley, has been eager to expand abroad due to declining opportunities in its home market, which has a rapidly ageing population and low interest rates.
In the United States, it has completed an $8 billion sale of MUFG Union Bank to U.S. Bancorp to focus on its wholesale business there.