BRANCH BANKING | Staff Reporter, Japan

Mizuho Financial buys Brazilian bank

Japan’s third-biggest bank by market value continues to gobble up foreign assets.

Mizuho Financial Group, Inc. has agreed to buy the Brazilian subsidiary of WestLB AG to exploit demand for infrastructure related financing in Brazil. WestLB AG is a German commercial bank based in Düsseldorf that is partly owned by the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The purchase of Banco WestLB do Brasil, mainly involved with wholesale banking, is pending regulatory approval. Mizuho did not disclose terms of the transaction but other sources said the bank offered US$380 million for Banco WestLB.

The subsidiary had total assets valued at about US$1.5 billion in 2011.

Mizuho has been gaining market share abroad from European lenders selling global assets to cope with the region’s debt crisis. Japanese lenders are looking to higher-yielding markets to compensate for declining profitability on domestic loans as interest rates tumble.

Mizuho Chief Executive Officer Yasuhiro Sato earlier emphasized his bank’s ambition to expand business overseas. Sato added that Mizuho also aims to get a bank license in Turkey where it is advising on a highway project or acquire a stake in a Turkish bank.





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