(Bloomberg) -- Vietnam Prosperity JSC Bank is in the final stages of a deal to sell a 15% stake to Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. for about $1.4 billion, according to people familiar with the transaction. 

The lender known as VPBank will sell more than 1 billion shares to SMBC Consumer Finance Co., a unit of Sumitomo Mitsui, for 32,000 dong ($1.35) to 33,000 dong each, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The deal is expected to be signed later this month.

VPBank is one of the largest private banks in Vietnam, with total assets of more than 631 trillion dong at the end of December. The business ranges across retail, corporate, consumer finance and wealth management operations. 

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.

Shares of Hanoi-based VPBank have risen just over 2% this year, valuing the lender at around $5.2 billion and making it the fourth-largest in the country by market value. Net income jumped 55.6% to 18.2 trillion dong last year. 

The bank has worked on the plan to sell the 15% stake to a strategic investor since 2021 and targeted completion of the sale last year. Luu Thi Thao, standing deputy chief executive officer of VPBank, has said the proceeds would help the lender replenish capital, news website VietnamFinance reported last month. 

In a Bloomberg interview in January, Sumitomo Mitsui’s Chief Executive Officer Jun Ohta said 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. 

A VPBank spokesman declined to comment on the possible deal, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and SMBC Consumer Finance could not be reached for comment outside of regular business hours.

--With assistance from Toru Fujioka and Taiga Uranaka.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.