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Japan's top can makers plan merger

Toyo Seikan Group Holdings President Takao Nakai, left, and Hokkan Holdings President Tsunenobu Kudo.

TOKYO -- Can and packaging producers Toyo Seikan Group Holdings and Hokkan Holdings have agreed to integrate their management, targeting higher cost-competitiveness worldwide as demand for cans dwindles at home.

     A basic agreement toward a merger was announced Monday. "The withdrawal of major beverage makers and Japan Tobacco from the canned-coffee business, along with realignment in the materials sector, has made the [can] business a good deal more forbidding," Toyo Seikan President Takao Nakai said. The company is Japan's largest can manufacturer.

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