Oil giants to merge

TOKYO: Two of Japan’s biggest oil refiners said on Thursday they would merge in a bid to counter an industry downturn, creating a mega-firm that would control half of the country’s crude market. JX Holdings said it would join forces with smaller rival TonenGeneral Sekiyu and rename the combined firm Newco Group. No financial details about the deal, scheduled to be completed by April, were released. But the pair’s combined revenue in the last fiscal year totalled $115 billion, employing nearly 30,000 people. The announcement comes a day after US benchmark West Texas Intermediate closed below $40 a barrel for the first time since August.