Metropol Group and Japanese SBI Holdings signed on Tuesday a set of documents, including the purchase/sale agreement and the option agreement, according to which SBI Holdings is to buy a 50% interest in the capital of Objedinenny Investitsionny Bank (Obibank) that is part of Metropol Group, the group reported.

“This is the first transaction of this kind between financial institutions of Russia and Japan, and therefore it is extremely important and heralds improvements in Russian-Japanese relations,“ Metropol Group head Mikhail Slipenchuk commented on the deal, adding this enables the group to make use of the advanced Japanese online banking technologies at Obibank. Currently Japanese brand SBI is No. 1 in Japan in the online banking segment. “I think that the service that Obibank will be able to provide in Russia after the merger with its Japanese partner will be the best and its customer base will rise by leaps and bounds,” he said.

As the media wired, on February 1, 2010 Metropol and SBI Holdings signed a memorandum of understanding that defined main terms for SBI Holdings’ acquisition of an interest in Obibank and further development in the Russian financial sector using online banking services. A document about the completion of the transaction between Metropol Group and Japanese SBI Holdings Inc. was signed on November 12, 2010 in Tokyo.

Objedinenny Investitsionny Bank (Obibank) was registered as a limited liability partnership in 1994. Since 1999 the bank has operated as a limited liability company. Its beneficial owner is the President of the Federation of Kyokushin-kan karate-do of Russia and the Fund of Development of Martial Arts Mikhail Slipenchuk. Until 2002 the bank focused on the securities market, and currently it takes efforts to become a universal bank.

Based on data, as of May 1, 2011 the bank’s net assets stood at Rub 11.19 bln (196th in Russia), capital (calculated in line with CBR requirements) totaled Rub 1.23 bln, the credit portfolio amounted to Rub 3.07 bln and obligations to households equaled Rub 5.59 bln.