By Marcus Leach

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group of Japan have agreed to buy the Royal Bank of Scotland's aircraft leasing division for $7.3bn (£4.7bn).

This deal is the single largest offloading of assets by RBS since it was rescued by the UK taxpayer in 2008.

Following months of negotiations with various buyers RBS finally opted to sell to the Japanese firm.

RBS Aviation Capital, which has assets of $7.2bn, is one of the world's largest specialists in leasing and financing aircraft.

"Reaching agreement on a deal of this scale in such a volatile market is a significant success for our non-core division," said RBS finance director Bruce Van Saun.

"This transaction further evidences our progress in reducing our non-core portfolio and returning the group to a position of strength."

Sumitomo said this deal will enable them to expand their business into emerging markets.

"The acquisition of RBS's aircraft leasing unit, the fourth largest in the world in terms of book value, will enable [Sumitomo] to further expand and develop the business in Asia and other emerging markets," the company said in a statement.

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