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Business

Showa Shell to cut stake in LPG wholesaler ahead of merger

Refiner moves to comply with ruling of antitrust regulator

TOKYO -- Japanese oil refiner Showa Shell Sekiyu will reduce its stake in a liquefied petroleum gas wholesaler ahead of a planned merger with peer Idemitsu Kosan.

Showa Shell, Cosmo Energy Holdings and Sumitomo Corp. each own about 33% of Japanese LPG trader Gyxis. After the divestiture, Cosmo and Sumitomo will both have 40% stakes, while Showa Shell will hold the remaining 20%.

The decision comes after the Japan Fair Trade Commission asked Showa Shell in December to trim its stake in Gyxis to around 20% by September as part of the pre-merger anti-trust screening. Since Idemitsu owns 51% of LPG distributor Astomos Energy, the antitrust regulator ruled that the combination would create unfair competition.

Following the screening, Idemitsu acquired 31.3% of Showa Shell shares. Idemitsu this month said it plans to create 25 billion yen ($224 million) in synergies over the next three years by partnering in logistics and refining with Showa Shell.

But the duo faces a major obstacle, as Idemitsu's founding family, which owns 33.92% of the company, still opposes the deal.

(Nikkei)

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