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Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co. President Atsushi Takahashi hinted Thursday the bank’s planned merger with the troubled Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan was effectively dead, saying the LTCB is now “one of the options” among the bank’s alliance strategies.Takahashi, however, said it is too early to make a final decision on the matter and stressed that the company will closely watch how the ongoing Diet discussions on financial rescue bills will unfold concerning the LTCB.At a news conference Thursday, Takahashi said other alliance options have emerged since the end of June, when Sumitomo Trust announced a merger plan with the ailing LTCB. “The merit of the LTCB merger for us was to utilize the bank’s outstanding customer foundation,” he said. “During the last three months, however, external conditions have changed fundamentally and such a merit has faded while other business opportunities have emerged.”Specifically, Takahashi referred to Sumitomo Trust’s recent tieups with Alliance Capital and UBS, a major Swiss bank, and said the firm is planning to join the business alliance of Sumitomo Bank and Daiwa Securities announced in July.The current merger committee between Sumitomo Trust and the LTCB will be disbanded shortly, and Sumitomo Trust will set up a new executive committee of its own this month to discuss a wide range of business strategies in line with new government financial schemes, he said.

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