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Japan's Idemitsu, Showa Shell to combine crude loading programs

TOKYO (Reuters) — Japanese oil refiners Idemitsu Kosan and Showa Shell Sekiyu have started work to integrate the so-called loading programs through which they purchase crude, Idemitsu's CEO said.

The two companies expect to finish this loading integration in the second-half of 2018, Idemitsu CEO Takashi Tsukioka told reporters on the sidelines of an industry event to mark the New Year

Idemitsu said last month that it and Showa Shell would combine management of their key businesses, pursuing a merger bitterly opposed by a core investor—Idemitsu's founding family.

Japan's second- and fourth-biggest refiners by sales aim to win over Idemitsu's founding family by showing successful examples of "synergies" between the two companies, Tsukioka said.

He added that Idemitsu was "not considering taking forceful measures for integration without gaining the founding family's understanding."

Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Joseph Radford

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