Japan’s Biggest Banks Plan to Sign Agreement With Saudi Aramco

Japan's Biggest Banks Said to Sign Aramco Deal

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc.’s banking unit and its two biggest Japanese peers plan to sign a non-binding agreement with Saudi Arabian Oil Co. in Tokyo this week to expand lending to the state-run firm as it considers an initial public offering, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. President Takashi Oyamada and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. Chairman Masayuki Oku are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding in Tokyo with executives of the oil firm known as Saudi Aramco, according to the people. An official from Mizuho Financial Group Inc. will also sign the deal as soon as Thursday, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

The Tokyo-based lenders are seeking to get involved in Aramco’s IPO, two of the people said. Japan’s trade ministry has asked the oil company to list its shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, people with knowledge of the matter said earlier this week. MUFG and its rivals are accelerating efforts to grab larger clients abroad like Aramco to counter slowing loan demand and shrinking interest rates at home.

Spokesmen for the three banks declined to comment. Aramco representatives didn’t immediately reply to an e-mailed request for comment.

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is visiting Japan and China this week, giving the Asian nations an opportunity to deepen energy ties as the world’s largest crude exporter prepares what could be the biggest IPO ever. Aramco and Japanese government officials plan to discuss a potential Tokyo listing during the visit, according to one of the people.

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