* Agreement likely to be reached by the end of this
* Sumitomo is expected to buy HSBC's 18 pct stake in Bao
Viet for about Y30 bln
* Japanese life insurers are stepping up acquisition
activities in Southeast Asia
TOKYO, Dec 18 Japan's Sumitomo Life Insurance Co
is close to agreeing to buy HSBC Holding's
18 percent stake in its Vietnam insurance business for
about 30 billion yen ($360 million), a source familiar with the
matter said on Tuesday.
Sumitomo Life, one of Japan's top four life insurers, and
HSBC are likely to agree on the deal to buy the stake in Bao
Viet by the end of this week, said the source, who
declined to be identified.
A Sumitomo Life spokesman declined to comment.
Faced with weak growth at home, Japanese life insurers are
stepping up their overseas expansion efforts with a particular
focus on Southeast Asia.
Reuters this month reported that Japan's Dai-ichi Life
Insurance Co Ltd and Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance Co
were among companies shortlisted to buy a minority stake in
Indonesia's Panin Life for about $200 million.
In May, Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance said it
agreed to raise its stake in PT Avrist Assurance of Indonesia to
23 percent from 5 percent.