PHILIPPINE NATIONAL Bank (PNB) is looking to infuse capital into its joint venture with Japan’s Mizuho Bank, which will boost its shareholdings in the firm, as it anticipates opportunities in the leasing business amid the government’s infrastructure drive.

“The PNB Board of Directors approved and confirmed the infusion of additional capital of up to P515 million to PNB-Mizuho Leasing and Finance Corp., subject to regulatory and other necessary approvals,” the lender said in a statement, noting the decision was made on Feb. 19.

Once the transaction is cleared by regulators, PNB’s share in the unit will increase to 83.5% from 75%.

PNB President and Chief Executive Officer Jose Arnulfo “Wick” A. Veloso said they are investing more into the firm amid bullishness on the country’s infrastructure push as it could bring opportunities for their leasing businesses.

“Given the focus of the government on continuing its ‘Build, Build, Build’ program, we see prospects in the leasing business. We are expecting to see growth in the sectors connected with the government’s priority projects,” Mr. Veloso said in a statement.

“The additional capital will help the business support companies in the transportation and infrastructure,” he added.

He said he hopes the further relaxation of restriction measures in the country could boost the operations of their leasing business.

The joint venture financing firm started its operations in the country in 1998. Among its services include finance lease, operating lease, term loans, and receivable discounting.

PNB-Mizuho Leasing and Finance is focused on the needs of Japanese firms with a local footprint, as well as small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The Tan-led lender’s net profit increased 4% year on year to P2.5 billion in the third quarter of 2020 from P2.436 billion. However, its nine-month income tally slumped 39% to P3.896 billion from P6.404 billion in the same period of 2019 as it boosted credit loss provisions due to the crisis.

PNB shares closed at P25.85 apiece on Monday, down by 40 centavos or by 1.52% from its Friday finish. — L.W.T. Noble