Japanese bank Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) is set to buy the aircraft-leasing business of Royal Bank of Scotland in a USD$7.3 billion deal, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday.
The source said the deal could be announced in the next 24 hours.
RBS Aviation is being sold as RBS shrinks back to its core British retail and commercial banking business. It marks the biggest disposal since the bank started aggressively downsizing when the UK taxpayer was forced to rescue it just over three years ago, giving the state 83 percent ownership.
SMFG had been fighting China Development Bank and US bank Wells Fargo for the aviation business, sources have previously said.
The Nikkei business daily said Sumitomo Mitsui Banking, Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing, and trading house Sumitomo will team up for the deal.
RBS declined comment.
Dublin-based RBS Aviation is one of the world’s top five commercial airline leasing firms. It owns, manages or has orders for 329 aircraft, leasing to 65 airlines in 24 countries.
It has a team of 69 executives in Dublin, New York, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Seattle and Toulouse. The business last year had a book value of USD$6.8 billion.
RBS tried to sell the business in 2009 but scrapped that auction a year later amid difficult market conditions.
Aircraft leasing is seen as attractive as it offers the prospect of steady returns with the relative security of hard assets that are easy to move around to tap growth wherever it emerges.