Shinsei Bank might buy Showa Leasing Co. possibly this year, sources said Thursday.

Shinsei Bank plans to take a stake of at least 51 percent in Showa Leasing, an affiliate of the Resona Holdings Inc. banking group, by acquiring new shares that the firm is set to issue through a private placement to increase its capital, the sources said.

The bank, successor of the temporarily nationalized Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan, might also list Showa Leasing on stock exchanges, they said.

Shinsei Bank is working to expand its nonbank financial services. The planned capital increase will prop up Showa Leasing’s financial standing, possibly allowing it to raise funds from the financial market if its creditworthiness is strengthened.

The Resona group has a 14.5 percent stake in Showa Leasing. It will continue investing in the leasing firm even after it becomes a Shinsei Bank unit, the sources said.

Showa Leasing, founded in 1969, logged a pretax profit of 5.99 billion yen in fiscal 2003 on sales of 172.46 billion yen.

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