London-based Standard Chartered Bank PLC has obtained approval from Thailand's central bank to acquire a 75% stake in Bangkok-based Nakornthon Bank PLC for about $317 million.

Thailand put several of its banks up for sale after they ran short of capital in the wake of a major financial crisis last year, and Nakornthon is the third bank to be acquired by foreign institutions.

Last year, Amsterdam-based ABN Amro N.V. bought Bank of East Asia PLC and Development Bank of Singapore acquired a 50% stake in Thai Danu Bank PLC.

Nakornthon Bank has 68 branches, of which around two-thirds are in Bangkok. A spokeswoman for Standard Chartered in London said the bank planned to use Nakornthon to expand into consumer and commercial banking in Thailand. He said the transaction will not officially close until Sept. 10.

The British bank originally offered $160 million to acquire Nakornthon, but was forced to double its offer after the Thai central bank came under criticism for agreeing to sell Nakornthon off too cheaply.

A similar bid by London-based HSBC Holdings PLC to acquire South Korea's SeoulBank for $900 million fell apart earlier this week after HSBC and the South Korean finance ministry failed to agree on how to value the bank's assets. Like Nakornthon, SeoulBank ran into difficulties last year in the wave of an economic crisis in Asia and was put up for sale by South Korean regulators.

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