Japan's Itochu to buy Shell's LPG ops in Philippines
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese trading house Itochu Corp (8001.T) said on Tuesday its joint venture with the Philippines' Isla Petroleum and Energy has signed an agreement to buy Royal Dutch Shell's (RDSa.L) liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) business in the Philippines.
The company did not announce the purchase price, but the Nikkei business daily said it was around 10 billion yen ($131 million).
Itochu said the move was in line with its goal to expand its global energy trading business.
The deal is set to be complete by December, the Nikkei said, though a company spokesman did not confirm this.
Itochu and Isla Petroleum have been supplying petroleum products in the Pacific islands of Guam and Saipan through a joint venture, and the purchase will tap growing LPG demand in the Philippines, the spokesman said.
Itochu currently trades around 5 million tonnes of LPG a year, he added.
After buying the assets of Shell, which controls 18 percent of the LPG wholesale market in the Philippines, Itochu is eyeing other Southeast Asian nations, the Nikkei said.
The use of LPG as a cooking fuel as a replacement for wood and charcoal is expected to grow, according to the paper.
($1 = 76.380 Japanese Yen)
(Osamu Tsukimori in Tokyo and Kavyanjali Kaushik in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Joseph Radford)