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Chuo Mitsui Trust & Banking Co. will acquire Sakura Trust & Banking Co., a subsidiary of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., in an effort to improve efficiency within the trust business of the Sumitomo Mitsui financial group, bank sources said Wednesday.

Chuo Mitsui will buy all the Sakura Trust & Banking shares currently owned by Sumitomo Mitsui by the end of June, making Sakura its wholly owned subsidiary.

The deal will enable Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co. and Chuo Mitsui to run the group’s trust business, the sources said.

They added that Chuo Mitsui will eventually absorb Sakura’s operations through a merger or transfer of businesses.

Established in 1995, Sakura Trust specializes in the securitization of accounts receivable.

Chuo Mitsui officially admitted in a press release that it is in negotiations with Sumitomo Mitsui, but declined to elaborate.

The sources said Hideie Hirakawa, vice president of Chuo Mitsui, plans to step down in late June.

Hirakawa assumed the presidency of the former Chuo Trust & Banking Co. in 1999 and realized a merger with the former Mitsui Trust & Banking Co.

His retirement will strengthen the clout of the former Mitsui Trust over the current Chuo Mitsui, industry analysts said.

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