November 11, 2019 / 4:35 AM / 7 days ago

Japan's SBI Holdings to take 17.9% stake in Fukushima Bank

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese internet banking giant SBI Holdings Inc (8473.T) and Fukushima Bank Ltd (8562.T) will form a capital and strategic tie-up, with SBI taking a 17.91% stake in the regional lender, the companies said on Monday.

Fukushima Bank will issue new shares to SBI for 222 yen each for a total investment of 1.11 billion yen ($10.17 million), making it the biggest shareholder in the lender.

The two financial companies will jointly establish offices where SBI’s products such as investment trust and insurance are provided to Fukushima Bank’s customers, while the companies will also develop new fintech-focused services, they said.

The future of Japan’s regional lenders is a focus for investors after years of negative interest rates and a declining population have sapped profits and raised questions about their ability to survive.

The news sent Fukushima Bank's shares up by their daily limit, or 32.9% higher, earlier in the session. The stock was last up 29.2%, while SBI Holdings fell 0.2%. The broader market .N225 was little changed.

SBI announced in September it would invest in Shimane Bank Ltd (7150.T), a regional bank in western Japan.

($1 = 109.2100 yen)

Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim and Takashi Umekawa; editing by Richard Pullin and Aditya Soni

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