HIROFUMI MATSUO, Nikkei senior staff writer
The family’s opposition to the deal, struck last November, has baffled the rest of the Japanese oil industry and apparently riled Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter. The future of Japan’s second-largest oil distributor hangs in the balance.
Speculation about Saudi anger has swirled in the Japanese oil sector since the family’s stance came to light in late June. Saudi Arabian Oil Co., better known as Saudi Aramco, the kingdom’s state oil company, is Showa Shell’s No. 2 shareholder, after Royal Dutch Shell. The Saudi company intends to retain a stake in the new entity created through the Idemitsu-Showa Shell merger. Under the proposal, Idemitsu would buy Showa Shell shares held by Royal Dutch Shell.