Idemitsu Kosan Co. aims to unify its gas station branding with that of Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. after the business integration of the two major oil wholesalers in April, according to Idemitsu Kosan President Shunichi Kito.

“We want to integrate the gas station brand names as early as possible,” he said in a recent interview.

Idemitsu Kosan, Japan’s second-largest oil refiner, believes it has no choice but to unify the brands in order to catch up with domestic industry leader JXTG Holdings Inc. JXTG, which was created in 2017 through the integration of JX Holdings Inc. and TonenGeneral Sekiyu K.K., already operates under the unified brand name of Eneos.

Idemitsu Kosan currently has some 6,500 gas stations across the country. About 3,500 of them are from Idemitsu and use a logo that features the Greek god Apollo. The remaining 3,000 gas stations, from Showa Shell, use a scallop shell as the brand logo.

“If the situation is left unaddressed, we won’t be able to compete at all” with JXTG, which has a network of 13,000 gas stations across Japan, Kito said.

He did not touch on such details as whether Apollo will be adopted as the unified logo, or if a new logo will be introduced.

Regarding a possible integration with Cosmo Energy Holdings Co., the third-largest oil refiner in the nation, Kito said his company is currently focused on generating synergy effects from the integration of Idemitsu and Showa Shell.

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