(Bloomberg) -- Vietnam Prosperity JSC Bank sold a 15% stake to Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. for about $1.5 billion, marking the end of a years-long sale process.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., a unit of SMFG, purchased the stake of the Hanoi-based lender, known as VPBank, through a private placement, the Vietnamese firm said in an emailed statement on Monday, confirming an earlier Bloomberg News report. The deal is the country’s third-largest investment by a foreign investor into a Vietnam-based company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

This investment is a part of VPBank’s capital raising plan to help it achieve its growth strategy over the next five years, according to the statement. Shares of VPBank rose as much as 1.9% to the highest level since August on Monday.

VPBank sold the stake at 30,160 dong per share, 42% higher than its closing price on Monday.

Japan’s top banks are investing billions of dollars in Asia to provide services to the region’s rapidly expanding middle class. In November, Sumitomo Mitsui agreed to buy an additional stake in Philippines-based Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. for about $460 million. 

VPBank is one of the largest private banks in Vietnam, with assets of more than 631 trillion dong at the end of last year. The business ranges across retail, corporate, consumer finance and wealth management operations. It’s been working on the plan to sell the 15% stake to a strategic investor since 2021.

Vietnam’s VPBank Is Near $1.4 Billion Stake Sale to SMFG Unit

Sumitomo Mitsui’s Chief Executive Officer Jun Ohta said in January that the company was discussing a capital tie-up with VPBank, building on an alliance with the firm. It had previously acquired a 49% stake in Vietnamese consumer lender FE Credit from VPBank.

(Updates the story with share price in the fourth paragraph.)

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