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Regulator approves JX-TonenGeneral and Idemitsu-Showa Shell mergers

Kyodo

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The Fair Trade Commission has approved the merger of Japan’s largest oil refiner, JX Holdings Inc., and third-ranked TonenGeneral Sekiyu K.K.

The commission also allowed Idemitsu Kosan Co., the second-biggest oil refiner, to buy shares in fifth-ranked Showa Shell from Royal Dutch Shell PLC. The two companies are seeking a merger, but Idemitsu’s founding family remains opposed to the plan.

With Monday’s approval, Idemitsu completed the acquisition of Royal Dutch Shell’s 31.3 percent shareholding in Showa Shell.

Idemitsu, which has put off a planned merger with Showa Shell in April, will apply with the FTC to proceed with the plan if it succeeds in persuading the founding family and obtaining approval at an extraordinary shareholders meeting.

The merger talks come as the domestic market for petroleum products has been shrinking.

In August, JX Holdings and TonenGeneral finalized an agreement to integrate their management in April to form the biggest oil refiner in the country. The name of the new company will be JXTG Holdings Inc.