TOKYO, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Sumitomo Life Insurance Co said on Thursday it is buying HSBC Holding’s 18 percent stake in Vietnamese insurer Baoviet Holdings for about $340 million, the latest in a spate of acquisitions by Japanese financial firms in Southeast Asia.
Faced with weak growth prospects at home and a strong yen, Japanese banks and life insurers have stepped up their overseas expansion efforts. For life insurers, Southeast Asia’s low insurance penetration rates and growing middle-class are a big draw.
Under the deal, Sumitomo Life, one of Japan’s top four life insurers, will acquire the stake for about 7.1 trillion Vietnam dong ($340.3 million). The transaction is subject to regulators’ approval.