Business / Corporate

Idemitsu and Showa Shell merger gets approval from antitrust regulators at home and abroad

Kyodo

Major oil refiners Idemitsu Kosan Co. and Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. said Wednesday their planned merger has been approved by all relevant antitrust authorities at home and abroad, moving them closer to consolidation on April 1.

An Idemitsu spokesman said the Japan Fair Trade Commission and other regulators did not point out any problems about the merger proposal but he refrained from disclosing which overseas authorities gave approval.

In the final hurdle for the merger, the companies will look to obtain an endorsement of the plan at an extraordinary meeting of shareholders next Tuesday.

The integration agreed upon in July 2015 had been delayed as the founding family of Idemitsu, Japan’s second-largest oil wholesaler, had opposed the merger with fourth-ranked Showa Shell, citing differences in corporate culture.

But the family later gave its approval on condition that its members join the board of the merged company.

The new company will be led by Idemitsu President Shunichi Kito.

The companies said 0.41 of an Idemitsu share will be exchanged for one Showa Shell share, and that they will aim to save a total of ¥60 billion ($536 million) over the three years through fiscal 2021 through the integration of operations.

Once the merger takes place, the country’s oil wholesale sector will be dominated by the newly merged firm and industry leader JXTG Holdings Inc.

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