BP to Merge Japanese Lube Businesses


BP has agreed to merge its automotive lubricant subsidiary in Japan with a domestic importer that has handled some of its lube brands for 26 years. The deal will put Japanese sales of BP and Castrol products under control of a single publicly traded company that claims about 10 percent of that countrys market.

The agreement, announced Aug. 4, is between BP Japan and Tokyo-based Petrolub International. Petrolub is a publicly traded company that has imported, manufactured and marketed BP and Duckham branded automotive lubricants since 1978. BP owns 31.2 percent of the companys stock. BP Japan is a wholly owned subsidiary of BP and has handled sales of Castrol products since the oil major bought Burmah Castrol in 2000.

The new business will be named BP Castrol KK and will be traded on the Tokyo Exchange, although BP will own 70 percent of its stock. BP will also manage the business.

This deal brings together the strong lubricant brands of the BP Group in Japan, which is the second-largest automotive lubricants market in the world, and will create a broader platform from which to develop the business further, said Mike Johnson, BPs vice president for lubricants in the Asia-Pacific region.

The merger must be approved by Petrolub shareholders and is expected to be completed around the end of this year.

Officials said the new company will have sales revenue of Yen 20 billion (U.S. $180 million). Japan consumes Yen 200 billion of automotive lubricants per year, more than any other nation except the United States.

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